• Telefónica Chile is reportedly still unable to gain access to new fibre‑optic infrastructure linking remote southern areas of the country.

Telefónica Chile remains without FOA access

Telefónica Chile remains without FOA access

Source: Isabela Kronemberger / Unsplash

Telefónica Chile is reportedly still unable to gain access to new fibre‑optic infrastructure linking remote southern areas of the country. The construction of Fibra Óptica Austral (FOA), a near‑4,000km submarine and terrestrial fibre network expected to connect 435,000 households and 19,000 businesses in Chile, is said to be in the final stages of deployment, with one section made available for use in January 2020. However, administrative problems at regulator Subsecretaría de Telecomunicaciones de Chile (SUBTEL) mean that operators are not permitted to use the infrastructure unless they can prove exceptional circumstances that demonstrate they require access. América Móvil-owned Claro Chile has apparently been granted a “special mandate” from SUBTEL to use the new network as a result of damage to its own cabling in the region. Telefónica also noted a further cause of delay with work needed to construct the terrestrial fibre optic‑lines that connect the new network to its facilities considered unviable during the COVID‑19 crisis. Telefónica lost out to rural communications provider CTR on the tender to provide undersea cabling for the €72m state infrastructure project in October 2017 (Telefónicawatch, #119–#120).