Google joins consortium for Chile-Australia Humboldt cable

Source: DCD News / Raftel

Update on cable first announced in 2022

January 12, 2024

Google is joining a consortium to deploy the first subsea cable between Chile and Australia.

“Today, we’re joining Desarrollo País of Chile and Office of Posts and Telecommunications of French Polynesia (OPT) to announce Humboldt, a subsea cable route linking Chile, French Polynesia, and Australia — the first ever to directly connect South America and Asia-Pacific,” the company said.

Chilean state-run infrastructure fund Desarrollo País and H2 Cable, a subsidiary of Singapore’s BW Digital, first announced an RFP for the Humboldt project in August 2022. H2 and BW aren’t mentioned in Google’s latest announcement.

At the time, the planned system would span roughly 15,000km connecting Valparaiso, Chile, to Sydney, Australia, with provision for branches to additional locations including Juan Fernandez (islands 670km off the coast of Chile), Easter Island, New Zealand, and Antarctica. Cost estimates ranged between $450 million and $650 million.

Google’s press image suggests the cable will include at least three branching units en route, but doesn’t list locations.

“This marks a significant milestone for the flagship project, the Humboldt submarine cable. After years of dedicated work, we are now entering the materialization phase. Google, our esteemed international partner, ensures that these works will adhere to the highest technical standards,” said Patricio Rey Sommer, general manager of Desarrollo País.

The Humboldt cable is named for Alexander von Humboldt, a German polymath, geographer, naturalist, and explorer who traveled extensively to the Americas at the turn of the 19th century.

“Australia welcomes this new trans-Pacific cable connecting Australia and Latin America for the first time, supporting the growth of digital and economic ties. This new cable route will enhance Australia’s global connectivity and complement our work with Pacific countries to secure better access to the global digital economy,” said Michelle Rowland, Minister for Communications of Australia.

President Moetai Brotherson of French Polynesia added: "Economic vitality in my country relies on investments in the digital sector. We are thrilled to collaborate on the Humboldt project to continue advancing French Polynesia’s digital economy and keep Tahiti on the cutting edge of innovation."