Brazil to boost internet speed through Europe

Jorge Bittar, Head of Brazilian telecoms company Telebras, has announced that Brazil will boost its internet communications to reduce dependence on US hubs and be able to host global data centres for heavy users like YouTube and Netflix Inc.

At present, all submarine fiber-optic cables connect Brazil to the internet through the United States. This could be seen as a security risk by Brazil, in the light of the 2013 revelations that the US National Security Agency spied on President Dilma Rousseff and other Brazilians.

In a move planned for late 2016, European space-transporter Arianespace will launch a geostationary satellite for Brazil from French Guiana, which will bring the internet to remote corners of Brazil. The electronic surveillance scandal prompted Brazil to buy the satellite from French aerospace supplier Thales SA, rather than a US company.

By 2017, a submarine cable will open a high-speed link to Portugal. The 3,650 mile cable will be laid from Lisbon to Fortaleza in northeast Brazil by a joint venture formed by Telebras and Spain’s IslaLink and will allow Brazil to have its first global internet exchange point in Fortaleza. “The submarine cable will give us greater security and more agile communications with Europe” Bittar said. It will also give European astronomers a very high speed connection to the European Southern Observatory telescopes in Chile’s Atacama desert.

Brazil is building antennas to connect the country from poor city suburbs to remote corners of the Amazon. Jorge Bittar said that the purchase was not hit by recent spending cuts because one of president Rousseff’s priorities is to bring the internet to every Brazilian school.

22nd September 2015

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