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Chile bids to become a digital hub with US$9,1 million investment

InvestChile - May,24,2019

The Chile tech transformation initiative is based around three key pillars: international optical fiber interconnections, the development of local fiber optics and a 5G tender scheduled for early 2020.

transformacion digital

The plan on which the Chilean government is working to convert the country into one of the region’s most important digital hubs will involve a significant outlay of resources in the part of both the public and private sectors.

According to Undersecretary for Telecommunications Pamela Gidi, a series of initiatives must be implemented over the next six years if the country is to achieve this goal. In addition to the deployment of 5G technology, it will be necessary to reinforce fiber optic coverage beyond what is currently being done. 

“We need to foster the functioning of the complete ecosystem so as to have an impact on productive sectors. The companies I met with in China that are operating with 5G, such as China Unicom and Korea Telecom, were concerned about how to impact industrial sectors with this technology, not how to sell more modern phones to users with 4G; that’s not creating value,” she explained.

That is why Gidi has been meeting with different international technology operators and with regulators as a means of helping to introduce “best practices” in the sector. 

Work is also taking place in conjunction with the Ministries of Energy, Public Works and State Properties as well as conversations with electricity companies in order to advance in the installation of antennas. 

According to the Undersecretariat’s internal figures, a 50% advance has so far been achieved on this digital transformation initiative, which is based around three key pillars: international terrestrial and submarine optical fiber interconnections, the development of local fiber optics and the 5G tender scheduled for early 2020.

In total, the plan will cost an estimated US$9,100 million, including what companies are already spending - around US$1,500 million per year - and an investment of US$3,100 million in optical fiber networks.

The fiber optics and 5G plan

In the case of fiber optics, the government has three important submarine projects, which are at different stages of development. 

The most recent is the “Curie” initiative, the Google submarine cable, presented by the tech giant and received by Transport Minister Gloria Hutt. With a length of 10,000 kilometers, it connects the Valparaíso Region with the coast of California.

The second in order of progress is the deployment of the Southern Optical Fiber project in which Huawei is involved. This is already under construction, with an estimated completion date in 2020. 

The most ambitious proposal is the Asia-America network, which will have a cost of US$600 million. In the case of this project, Gidi highlighted the US$3 million in financing obtained from the Latin American Development Bank, thanks to which a tender for the technical studies will be launched in the next few weeks.

On the future 5G tender, Gidi reported that it is taking shape and that the plan for this year is to improve the technical norms in order to give operators more security for making their investments.

To learn more about the digital transformation in Chile, see this article.

Source: Diario Financiero

Visa tech - ingles

Topics: Digital Economy



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