United States , Argentina , Uruguay and Brazil

Uruguay gives green light to Google’s Firmina subsea cable

Bnamericas Published: Wednesday, December 28, 2022
Uruguay gives green light to Google’s Firmina subsea cable

Uruguay’s President Luis Alberto Lacalle Pou has formally approved the installation of Google's new Firmina submarine cable in the country.

Lacalle Pou gave Google two years to present a plan to the industry, energy and mining ministry (MIEM), detailing the actions to be carried out regarding Firmina, according to a document signed by the president on December 23, but only now reported by local press.

Named after Brazilian slavery abolitionist and author Maria Firmina dos Reis, Firmina is Google’s second proprietary continental submarine cable in Latin America – that is, for its exclusive use – and will connect the US east coast to Las Toninas in Argentina, with landing points in Praia Grande in Brazil and Punta del Este in Uruguay (route pictured).

Argentine telecoms regulator Enacom approved the installation of Firmina in Argentine territorial waters last August.

First announced in 2021, Firmina is scheduled to go into operation in late 2023, as part of Google’s five-year US$1.2bn investment plan for Latin America. Construction and installation of the cable was commissioned to US company SubCom.

With 12 fiber pairs, the cable will carry traffic between North and South America, giving users rapid, low-latency access to Google products such as Search, Gmail and YouTube, as well as Google Cloud services, according to Google.

The infrastructure will run approximately 13,500km and is projected to have capacity of 15Tbps per fiber pair.

In Latin America, Google is also the full owner and operator of Curie, a cable launched in 2019 that runs from Chile to the US.

The company also operates three submarine cable systems connected to Brazil: Monet, which runs from Santos/Praia Grande to Boca Raton, Florida; Junior, from Santos to Rio de Janeiro; and Tannat, from Santos to Maldonado in Uruguay. 

The cables went live in 2017, 2018 and 2021, respectively.

Of these, Monet and Tannat are owned in a consortium with other companies and Junior is fully owned by Google.

Including Firmina, Google reports that it has investments in 16 subsea cables worldwide.

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