High-speed connectivity coming to Brazil’s Amazon region

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A remote and environmentally sensitive region of Brazil is to benefit from high-speed connectivity thanks to a project that involves laying fibre-optic cables on the river beds of the Amazon Basin.

The work falls under the Amazônia Conectada project, a strategic initiative that was developed by the Brazilian Army, with the support of the country’s Ministries of Defense, Health, Education and Communication. The overall plan is to install approximately 6,000km of sub-fluvial fiber-optic cables in rivers of the Amazonas region to provide efficient and reliable internet connection. This will bring connectivity to more than 50 cities and 4.5 million people, providing opportunities for improving public health, education and supporting sustainable development.

Because the project is taking place in an environmentally sensitive rainforest area, environmental factors are of critical importance. This is why the cables are being laid on the river beds rather than being installed on aerial towers that would need trees to be felled. The cables are designed to provide up-to-date communications technology with no need for maintenance. Tests carried out by the Brazilian authorities prior to approval confirmed that the cables would not emit a single particle of pollutant into the river.

Nexans Submarine Telecom and Special Cables (STSC) will be working on the latest stage of project, having been involved in the region since its inception in 2015. The company has supplied un-repeatered submarine fibre optic cables (URC-1) with 100Gb/s data transmission capacity for the four phases completed to date. In 2020, 470km of submarine cables were delivered, taking the total length installed so far to 1,170km. This has now been followed by an order for a further 620km of cable, scheduled for delivery in this year. Upon delivery, the latest order will take the total length of cable supplied to 1,790km.

General Decílio de Medeiros, deputy chief of the Science and Technology Department of the Brazilian Army, said: ‘This flagship project is bringing digital inclusivity that will benefit the less favoured populations of the Amazon region and those who live far from urban centres. It is very demanding technically and we welcome the support of Nexans in delivering advanced and highly-reliable fiber-optic cables. We were particularly impressed that Nexans ensured smooth delivery throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, overcoming travel and sanitary restrictions through innovative procedures such as virtual testing, online training and live video transmission.’

Krister Granlie, vice president of Nexans STSC Business Unit, said: ‘We are very proud that our recent momentum has enabled us to achieve a record backlog of orders. The key to this success is exemplified in the Amazon project – products that are technically excellent supported by a relentless focus on customer service and delivery.’

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