First Ever Submarine Internet Cable for Antarctica



Two Infrastructure Corporations will Build the First Antarctica Broadband Connection


The first undersea internet cable will dock on the Antarctican coast, and two infrastructure firms from Chile and Singapore are getting ready to create it.


The Humboldt Line cable, created via a collaboration between Desarrollo Pas and H2 Cable, a BW Digital company, would extend 15,000 kilometers from Chile to Australia, including branching points in New Zealand and two islands off the coast of Chile.


Notably, there will also be a 2,000 km branch linking Antarctica, which is now the only continent without access to the faster speeds and enhanced capacity that underwater cables provide.


The Register cites a study document from 2021 that claims that Scott Base and McMurdo Station in Antarctica now have networking capabilities that are “insufficient even to be deemed broadband.”


According to the report’s author, Peter Neff, “a summer population of up to 1,000 individuals shares what is similar to the connection experienced by a normal family of three in the United States.”


The Humboldt Cable’s arrival on Antarctic beaches will eliminate the region’s reliance on slow, inconsistent satellite internet and enable a first-time hardwired connection. The new connection should enable local academics to send large data sets to global colleagues.


According to H2 and Desarrollo Pas, the Humboldt Cable will be the most crucial undersea infrastructure linking South America, allowing for the installation of datacenters, AI, and other data-driven technologies that will place Chile on the digital map.


The route and timeline are, as of now, official. However, the two businesses are still looking for new investors before starting procurement and talking to interested parties at the anchor sites.


The Antarctic Infrastructure Renewal Program (AIRP) will Enhance Operations and Scientific Initiatives


The Australian government said in 2019 that it would improve our network of Antarctic research stations and related infrastructure with an investment of more than $450 million over the following ten years.


Their infrastructure will be updated, operations will be enhanced, and research programs will be revitalized. Mawson, Casey, and Davis research stations last had a significant refurbishment program in the 1980s.


By supporting the implementation of the Australian Antarctic Strategy and 20-Year Action Plan, this investment in the Australian Antarctic Program will enhance Australia’s scientific research, presence, and leadership in Antarctica.


Modernizing new and existing infrastructure, enhancing operations, and revitalizing ongoing research activities are all the Antarctic Infrastructure Renewal Program (AIRP) goals.


According to the National Alliance Contracting Guidelines, the AIRP will be provided utilizing a Program Alliance delivery model and will entail a two-stage procurement process to choose the AAD’s preferred partner(s) and establish an Alliance.


In the procurement process, an Expression of Interest (EOI) Phase will identify two proposers participating in a lengthy interactive Request for Proposal (RFP) Phase to construction costs and bids for the two Initial Works Packages. AusTender gives EOI data. The Antarctic Infrastructure Renewal Program aims to improve new and current infrastructure, operations, and research (AIRP).


Even though this procurement is focused on finding Non-Owner Participants for a Program Alliance, the AAD will open up opportunities for local industry participation. Australian industry players interested in supplying goods and services to the Alliance should register online.


Sources: iTech Post, Peter Neff, National Alliance Contracting Guidelines, Australian Antarctic Program, NSF