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Date: Sun, 16 May 1999 18:16:32 -0500 (CDT)
From: rich@pencil.math.missouri.edu (Rich Winkel)
Organization: PACH
Subject: COMMUNICATIONS: Fiber Optics Network to Link Latin America
Article: 64216
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Message-ID: <bulk.18375.19990517122353@chumbly.math.missouri.edu>

/** ips.english: 536.0 **/
** Topic: COMMUNICATIONS: Fiber Optics Network to Link Latin America **
** Written 10:08 PM May 12, 1999 by newsdesk in cdp:ips.english **

Fiber Optics Network to Link Latin America

By Tito Drago, IPS, 12 May 1999

MADRID, May 12 (IPS) - 'Telefonica Internacional de Espana' - the largest telecommunications company in Spain and Latin America - and a U.S. firm plan to invest 900 million dollars to install a submarine fiber optics network linking all countries of Latin America, with connections in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

Fiber optics is the most advanced system for transmitting voice messages, text, photos and moving images, and competes in speed and quality with satellite transmissions.

The system, known as Sam-1, will entail the installation of 23,000 kilometres of submarine cable. It will be the first in Latin America to use the Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) technology, permitting faster speed and higher quality.

Once the system is fully installed it will link Puerto Rico, Brazil, Argentina and the United States on the east coast of the continent, and Chile, Peru, Colombia and Guatemala on the west coast.

According to the agreement signed Tuesday in Madrid, the first phase is to be installed by December 2000, and the entire system should begin to operate in July 2001.

Telefonica Internacional de Espana is the largest telecoms company in Spain and Latin America, with subsidiaries or affiliated companies in Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Peru, Guatemala and the United States.

By late 1998, the firm had a total of 49 million clients and administered 35 million fixed lines, 11 million mobile phones and 2.3 million pay-television clients.

The accord signed by the Spanish firm and the U.S. company Tyco Submarine Systems Ltd (TSSI), a subsidiary of Tyco International, Tuesday in Madrid created a mixed enterprise in which Telefonica Internacional de Espana will control 75 percent of shares and TSSI 25 percent.

TSSI owns a fleet of cable ships for the installation and maintenance of the submarine communications networks, and administers more than 350,000 kms of submarine cable connecting around 100 countries.

South and Central America are the areas with the least infrastructure of fiber optics submarine networks, said TSSI president Neil Garvedy, after signing the agreement with Telefonica.

The executive added that the Sam-1 system would enable the satisfaction of demand in the region for access to broadband connection, which will allow an explosive development of Internet and voice and data traffic.

Antonio Viana, executive director of Telefonica Internacional de Espana, said this cable system will be a key element in reinforcing Telefonica's leadership in Latin America.

Furthermore, it will complement existing networks in the area, and will boost growth in all sectors of the market, including voice and data transmission and Internet services, he said.

This kind of infrastructure will expand our competitive advantages, and permit us to satisfy the needs of our clients in the region, he added.

The new system will be connected to the land networks operated by Telefonica Internacional and other companies, providing an integral service that will link Latin America's chief cities, both among themselves and with the rest of the world, said Viana.