Brazil announces fibre optic cable to increase internet access in Amazon region

As per the Communication Ministry of Brazil, using river beds for laying optical cables would eliminate the need to deforest areas for installation.

Close up of network fiber cables

On August 8, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva attended the inauguration of Infovia 01, a fiber optic cable, in Santarém, Brazil. The fiber optic cable is part of the Norte Conectado Program and will span over 1,000 kilometers. It will be implanted in the bed of the Amazon River and some of its subsidiaries, as announced on the government website in a public communication. This development aims to bridge the digital divide and provide broadband internet connectivity to three million individuals across 11 municipalities between Santarém and Manaus in the Amazon. The plans also connect 132 schools, 11 hospitals, and 9 Integrated justice forums, while solar panels are capable of supplying half of the infrastructure’s energy needs.

The project was unveiled one day before a summit with the leaders of Amazon region nations, the so-called Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO), who met for the first time since 2009, to create common plans for protecting the rainforest and security across borders. There has also been a call for private enterprises to contribute to restoring 30 million hectares of deteriorated land.

Why does it matter?

This initiative is just another example of Lula’s ‘Green New Deal’ equivalent in Brazil, promoting the protection of the rainforest while also developing infrastructure, something opposed by former President Bolsonaro. These are certainly positive steps towards restoring the lungs of the planet Earth. There have also been talks between the EU and Latin American and Caribbean nations, where the former pledged collaboration between the EU, Brazil, and the EU private sector to expand telecoms networks in the Amazon region. Brazil has recently improved its access to and performance of 5G and launched a science center for digital agriculture.