April 25, 2017 / 1:00 AM / 4 months ago

Spain, Brazil plan subsea fibre optic cable by 2019

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy speaks during the ceremony for the EllaLink undersea telecommunications cable between Brazil and Spain in Sao Paulo, Brazil, April 24, 2017.Nacho Doce

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - The Spanish and Brazilian governments have teamed up to lay an undersea cable in the Atlantic Ocean to offer fast online and cloud services to citizens of both countries by 2019, underscoring efforts to rout communications outside North America.

The EllaLink subsea cable will connect to data centres in Madrid and São Paulo, as well as in Lisbon, using shielded fibre rings, officials said on Monday. The cable will also connect the archipelagos of Madeira, Spain's Canary Islands and Africa's Cape Verde along the route, they added.

At an event in São Paulo, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said the venture to build the first subsea fibre optic cable linking Europe to Brazil should help improve data security and privacy by routing calls and internet navigation outside the reach of the United States.

The idea gained traction almost four years after former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and other officials were target of personal and economic espionage by U.S. intelligence agencies.

Documents leaked by former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden in 2013 showed the U.S. National Security Agency had tapped Rousseff's telephone calls and those of millions of other Brazilians.

The 9,200 km-long (5,700-mile), 72-terabytes-per-second- capacity subsea cable is about seven times the size of existing communications capacity between Latin America and the rest of the world, said Alfonso Gajate, president of EulaLink, one of the partners in the venture. No cost estimates were provided.

The only existing direct link between Europe and South America is a 20-Gb copper cable laid in 1999 by a consortium of voice operators.

Reporting by Brad Haynes; Writing by Guillermo Parra-Bernal; Editing by Peter Cooney

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