Brazil will boost its Internet communications to reduce dependence on U.S. hubs and be able to host global data centres for heavy users like YouTube and Netflix, Jorge Bittar, head of state-run telecoms company Telebras, said in an interview.
At present, all submarine fiber-optic cables connect Brazil to the Internet through the United States.
That’s a security risk in a “post-Snowden” world, said Telebras chief executive Bittar, referring to the 2013 revelations of former National Security Agency analyst Edward Snowden, including that the U.S. agency spied on President Dilma Rousseff and other Brazilians.
In a move late next year that will bring the Internet to remote corners of Brazil, European space-transporter Arianespace will launch a geostationary satellite for Brazil from French Guiana, with a throughput of 56 gigabits per second.
By 2017, a deepsea cable with more than 30 terabit-per-second capacity will open a high-speed channel to Portugal allowing European astronomers to watch the stars through telescopes in Chile.
The electronic surveillance scandal prompted Brazil to buy the satellite from French aerospace supplier Thales instead of a U.S. company.
Brazil has paid half of its $654 million cost and is building an infrastructure to connect Brazil from poor city suburbs to remote locations in the Amazon.
The purchase was not hit by recent spending cuts because one of Rousseff’s priorities is to bring Internet to every Brazilian school, Bittar said.
The satellite will be shared with Brazil’s armed forces whose communications currently rely on renting satellite bands from Star One, a unit of Embratel, a company controlled by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim’s America Movil.
The 5,875-kilometer cable called EulaLink will be laid from Lisbon to Fortaleza in Northeast Brasil by a joint venture formed by Telebras and Spain’s IslaLink at a cost of $185 million financed by the European Union.
European research networks will invest 25 million euro’s in the cable that will provide them with a fast internet speed connection to the European Southern Observatory telescopes in Chile’s Atacama desert. The joint venture is talking to future heavy users to cover the remainder of the investment.