Chile to tender national fiber project, eyeing industrial 5G

Bnamericas Published: Thursday, October 10, 2019
Chile to tender national fiber project, eyeing industrial 5G

Chile’s telecoms regulator Subtel has approved an 86bn-peso (US$120mn) budget to deploy fiber nationwide and has also launched a public consultation on granting 5G concession licenses to companies for specific use cases.


Chile’s comptroller general gave the green light to a proposed plan to build 10,000km of fiber optic cabling, known as a Fibra Óptica Nacional (FON), covering 13 of the country’s 16 regions, including 202 nodes located in 186 districts.

The project was announced in May by President Sebastián Piñera and will complement the 64bn-peso Fibra Óptica Austral (FOA) – a 4,000km stretch of submarine and terrestrial fiber connecting Puerto Montt and the southernmost city of Puerto Williams, due to be lit this month.

Subtel said that it would call a tender over the next few days for the project, which will be divided into six macrozones in the north, center and south of the country: Arica and Parinacota; Coquimbo, Valparaíso and Región Metropolitana; O'Higgins and Maule; Ñuble and Biobío; and Araucanía, Los Ríos and Los Lagos.

Interested parties will have 60 days to present bids.

Chile’s fiber plans extend beyond its borders. The country is currently awaiting the completion of a feasibility study for the proposed Trans-Pacific cable that would provide the first fiber cable directly linking Latin America and Asia.


In related news, this week Subtel called a public consultation on a proposal to award telecoms concession licenses to private companies interested in rolling out 5G networks for use in their specific industries including mining, ports, agro-industry and transport.

The consultation will be open until October 23 at this link and seeks feedback on the legal, administrative and economic implications of such contracts.

Subtel held a public consultation earlier this year on the use of the 700MHz, AWS, 3.5GHz and 28GHz bands for 5G networks.

Chile’s ambitions to be one of the first countries to launch 5G have been thrown into doubt due to a legal dispute over the existing 60MHz spectrum cap, the modification of which to a more flexible model is still being studied by the TDLC antitrust tribunal.


Subtel plans to launch a tender at the end of 2019 to establish 600 free public Wi-Fi zones as part of a plan to build a total of 1,200. The initiative is part of an agreement signed between Subtel and the tourism and economy watchdogs to boost the economic potential of the country through connectivity.

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