In times of pandemic, where you have to be more in the house and the window to the outside world is a screen, the Internet connection and telecommunication services becomes fundamental to communicate. However, in regions such as Los Lagos, Aysén and Magallanes connectivity is scarce and hinders access to services such as telemedicine or online education platforms, as well as services such as supermarket purchases or access to delivery and recall applications, so useful these days.
That is why the Southern Fiber Optic (FOA) project is a state initiative that considers the implementation of four trunks in the southern part of the country («Magellan Terrestrial Trunk», «Troncal Submarina Austral», «Troncal Terrestre Los Lagos» and «Troncal Terrestre Aysén») for the deployment of more than 4,500 kilometers of optical fiber in the regions of Los Lagos, Ayéns and Magesallanes.
«The area benefited from the laying of the fiber optic cable is an area geographically difficult to access and with extreme weather conditions, especially in the winter, which makes it even more difficult to get inputs and people by land. Historically these locations have been isolated and have struggled to establish frequent medical services, so the advent of a high-quality digital connection will allow virtually bring health professionals closer to the much-sought-after consultations that, if done on time, can detect and stop symptoms of diseases that become complex due to lack of timely care» Enrique Villagra, general manager of Silica Networks, firm of the Datco Group that is part of the FOA Project and will link with 890 km of fiber optics to 25 locations in Aysen and Los Lagos.
Something similar happens with education. Children in rural or hard-to-reach areas located in the communes that will benefit from the FOA project often have to travel several kilometres to reach their educational establishments. In winter season and even more so in times of pandemic, children cannot leave their homes, where they also have low digital connectivity, without access to educational platforms.
«Online education has become the most valuable tool to continue the academic plans of children throughout Chile. Having a high-quality connection is key for students across the country to access and advance the contents of their studies, as well as maintaining contact with their peers and teachers, which is very important in times when social links are developing and sustaining them only thanks to video calls», adds Datco’s fiber optic and digital connection expert.
The total extension of the fiber optic cable will be installed underground and underwater,» the latter being an unprecedented measure and which will result in minimal impact on the environment, in addition to being minimally invasive in aesthetic terms for the entire area that travels», explains the executive.
«Today more than ever before, access to the internet is crucial, as it not only allows social interaction – which is so limited – but also enables other areas of services, such as remote medical care and continuity of education, issues that have become particularly important in recent months. Health care facilities are operational, but prioritizing emergency and coronavirus contagion care, and educational establishments have had to close their doors to keep people less exposed to Covid-19 sources of contagion,» he says.