Claro submarine cable connects San Andrés Islands - Intelligent CIO LATAM
Claro submarine cable connects San Andrés Islands

Claro submarine cable connects San Andrés Islands

After Hurricane Iota in 2020, the infrastructure of this archipelago was severely damaged but today connectivity is up to 1,000% faster.

América Movil, operating in Colombia as Claro, has announced that it has finished a 727km extension of its AMX-1 undersea fiber optic cable in the Caribbean Island of San Andrés, enhancing the island’s Internet connectivity and enabling 4G and 4.5G mobile telephony.

The San Andrés cable extension connects with the main submarine trunk that has been in place since 2013 and runs 17,500km connecting Colombia, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Florida, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Mexico and Brazil.

In Colombia the undersea fiber network owned by América Movil (operating under the Claro brand name) lands in both Barranquilla and Cartagena.

San Andrés is a Caribbean archipelago consisting of the three inhabited islands of Providencia, Santa Catalina, and the largest, San Andrés with a population of approximately 60,000.

The islands suffered severe damage in 2020 by Hurricanes Eta and Iota. Providencia took a direct hit from which it is still undergoing reconstruction. For this reason, the arrival of the AMX-1 cable comes at an opportune moment to improve development opportunities.

Though Colombian territory, the islands are roughly 150 miles off the coast of Central America, and the native Raizal population speaks Creole English in addition to Spanish. The islands are popular with tourists, especially those from South America.

San Andrés Island, Caribbean Sea, Colombia

Carlos Centeno, President, Claro Colombia, said: “For me, it is a source of extraordinary pride to be part of a company that is contributing to the country’s development through network coverage, access to technology and the development of digital ecosystems.

“Today we take a huge step forward in technology by connecting San Andrés to the world through this submarine fiber optic cable, which will bring unprecedented benefits to the inhabitants of the island and the tourism, commerce, health, education and government sectors.”

Ivan Duque, Colombia’s President, said: “Today with Minister Carmen Ligia Valderrama, with the private sector, with the regulators and with Claro, we are complying with the archipelago of San Andrés and Providencia, delivering a new submarine cable that will exponentially multiply the capacity to access information and the download capacity. This is about quality of life: This is telemedicine, tele-education, better services for tourism and better digital payment services.”

Colombia’s Minister of Information and Communications Technology (MinTIC), Carmen Ligia Valderrama Rojas, said: “This cable is going to be fundamental so that the islanders can upload and download their content much faster, continue with their online training, access better daily services in health, tourism, education and thus improve their life chances.”

Connectivity and integration

In 2013 América Movil installed the submarine cable system. It is 17,500 kilometers in length and saw an initial investment of 500 MUSD, to provide high-speed communication links between the United States, from Florida and Puerto Rico to Jamaica, Colombia, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Brazil.

This cable is part of all the individual and collaborative investments that Claro has made to connect Latin America with the rest of the world, in projects such as integrating through submarine cables with Portugal, from Brazil and with Oceania and Southeast Asia, from Chile.

This submarine fiber-optic network connects from the access points of the ports of Barranquilla and Cartagena. This connection resulted in a 50-fold increase in Colombia’s digital connectivity to the world.

In the same way, when the optical fiber of the AMX-1 reaches San Andrés, the archipelago improves the connectivity of the tourism and commerce sectors, which are vital for its economic sustainability. At the same time, industries such as health, education and government improve care and service opportunities for the entire island population.

The inhabitants of San Andrés now have access to a better broadband network, coverage with 4G and 4.5G technologies and an increase of up to 1,000% in mobile Internet speed. The submarine cable strengthens interconnectivity between the islands and the mainland, improves higher-speed Internet access while reducing service rates and strengthens IT infrastructure.

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