After having invested in the pacific transcontinental cables, Google will keep on developing network infrastructures. This time, the Montain View giant will team up with Latin American companies and African operators to link the United States to Brazil, and unexpectedly, Angola, via submarine cables.

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(Submarine Cable World Map, as of 2007, Wikicommons)

Four companies from different countries and of different capacities to build submarine cables

A consortium of 4 big companies: the Brazilian giant Algar Telecom, the African telecommunication operator Angola Cable, Uruguay’s government-owned telecom company Antel, and Google, announced at the occasion of Futurecom, held in São Paulo, their intention to build a new optic fiber cable under the Atlantic for 2016.

The cable will connect the Brazilian cities of Fortaleza and Santos to Florida and Luanda in Angola with premium technological infrastructures. TE SubCom, a company that has already installed 490.000 km of submarine cable (enough to cross along the world 12 times at Ecuador’s latitude), will execute the project.

10.556 km of submarine cables, several hundred million dollars invested

The construction of the cable should start soon, and the consortium already announced a few numbers to give an idea of the scope of the project: 10.556 km of underwater cable will allow to transfer up to 64 Terabits per second. And it will last at least 65 years.

Although it has not been officially confirmed, the Mountain View giant should be the main investor and invest close to $500 millions into the project. Angola Cable will participate up to $260 millions, and will take care of connecting Angola to Fortaleza and the USA by cable, and building the biggest data center in Fortaleza. The Uruguayan company Antel will put $73 millions.

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Angola Cables stand in Futurecom, showing the map of the project

Connecting emerging continents: a long-term vision

On the one hand it is a rather classical consortium as it involves complementary companies that will remain the owner of its own assets,the maintenance expenses being shared according to the part they own.

But on the other hand, when asked about revenue sharing all companies claim to serve long-term interests as the project shouldn’t be exploited for a direct commercial purpose.

Google is looking to reduce the cost of transmitting its own data, just the same as it will do on the Pacific side. Building alliances with partners in Latin America and Africa, the two regions of the world with the highest growth rate regarding internet penetration, will serve its general strategy even though it doesn’t generate immediate profits. In Latin America, Google can count on 300 millions connected people.

The other participant in the project seem to share this long-term vision of their respective interests. Antel even confessed not having a clear business model for the moment.

With regard to Angola Cable, the objective is clearly to make the country a tech hub in Africa, and to hold a key position by offering the connectivity it needs.

By Louis Leclerc, Fixer for Innovation is Everywhere in Latin America, is attending the continent’s top tech event, FutureCom, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. More posts from this part of the world to come soon!