Telefonica Empresas, the B2B brand of the leading Spanish operator, has been awarded the contract for the final stretch of Chile’s National Fibre Optic (FON) initiative.
The announcement appeared on the website of Subtel, the Chilean telecommunications regulator, which said that the decision meant the regions of La Araucanía, Los Ríos and Los Lagos in the south of the country will have a high-speed network that “will allow the development of local economies and will improve competition, supply and quality of services for telecommunications users”.
It adds that the FON project, which has enjoyed a state subsidy of more than CLPS$86 billion (around US$122.5 million) altogether, involves the deployment of some 10,000 kilometres of optical fibre, benefiting more than three million users in 203 areas from the Arica and Parinacota Region to the Los Lagos Region. It will come into operation during 2022.
Telefonica Empresas has reportedly been contracted to connect 58 localities for a total of $31 million, beating rival bidders GTD and WOM. However, in April of last year, WOM was itself awarded a number of FON project zones.
The deployment of high-capacity infrastructure is being presented as part of Subtel's commitment to reduce the digital divide. Minister of Transport and Telecommunications, Gloria Hutt has been quoted as saying, “Our main objective is to improve the digital connectivity of all the citizens of Chile – not only so that they are in contact with their loved ones, but also to improve their quality of life through tools such as telework, distance education and telemedicine.”