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Angola Cables inks deal linking Chile, Argentina to Brazil-Africa cable

By BNamericas Thursday, October 18, 2018

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Angola Cables signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Argentina's Silica Networks to connect Chile and Argentina to the nearly activated South Atlantic Cable System (SACS).

The deal was signed Wednesday at the Futurecom tech conference in São Paulo, Brazil. Conversations between Silica and Angola Cables began during the event and led to the deal.

BNamericas was the only media present at the MOU signing and talked to the CEOs of both companies.

Contract values were not disclosed.

"When I came across Angola Cables and the SACS project I said 'This is exactly what we are looking for'. It was love at first sight," joked Horacio Martinez, CEO of Grupo Datco.

With operations in Argentina, Chile and Brazil, Silica has an optical ring of 12,000km connecting the Pacific (Santiago) and the Atlantic (São Paulo coast). With the Angola Cables deal, it gets an Atlantic "exit" to the rest of the world.

For Angola Cables, the deal is an opportunity to reach, via Santiago, the Pacific.

SACS is 6,000km and links Luanda, in Angola, to Fortaleza, in Brazil. Built and deployed by NEC, it is the only cable 100% owned and operated by Angola Cables. The Angolan company is also co-proprietary and/or has participation via consortiums in other cable systems, aside from having agreements with third-party systems.

With a 40TB/s capacity, SACS is considered the first direct South Atlantic fiber route and is live since the end of September, open for commercial traffic.

The Angolan multinational claims to be able to connect, directly or indirectly, from Russia to Brazil (and now to Chile), going through China, India, South Africa and other countries through an expanded "BRICS" cable.

Asked about other South Atlantic cable projects and BRICS cable initiatives, and how they impact business, António Nunes said "competition is always good to business because it pushes us forward."

Martinez, who said Silica has no exclusivity clause to be linked only with Angola Cables, added: "It's good to look to competitors through the rear mirror, though."

According to the executives, the effects of the deal are immediate. In other words, connectivity doesn't require much more than lighting connected fiber cables.

Nunes believes the deal could be relevant to South American companies and operators interested in a more direct and low latency connectivity with other parts of the world. Traditionally, South America-Africa connections have gone through Europe or the US first, increasing latency times, hence the importance of SACS.

Tests conducted by Angola Cables have indicated a 63ms latency time from Fortaleza to Luanda with SACS, compared to 338ms latency via previous, longer routes.

The CEOs believe they will be able to carry out soon the first tests to assess the new latencies between Santiago and Buenos Aires and other major cities such as Capetown, Miami and New York.

"This connection certainly boosts business development in the markets of Latin America, Africa, Middle and Far East. We want to promote a true digital revolution and contribute to the creation of hitherto inexistent ways to foster data exchanges between companies and users of different regions, with greater quality and speed," said Nunes.

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