Broadband connection speeds between Europe and Latin America have grown significantly to 10 Gbps in 2018, but once operational EllaLink will improve speeds by 60%.
Connection speeds between Europe and Latin America have grown 1,600% since 2003 but are restricted by current interconnectors.
EllaLink was first conceived in 2012 as a next-generation submarine cable route spanning 10,000km of the Atlantic Ocean floor bed, linking the Brazilian cities of São Paulo and Fortaleza with Lisbon, Portugal.
The Marguerite II Infrastructure Fund stepped in as an equity investor in May 2018, a landmark venture considering that global internet infrastructure is dominated by a handful of US, mostly tech, companies. By January 2019, Marguerite reached financial close on the EUR 150m project.
The cost of financing is, in part, being sourced from pre-payments made by anchor tenants, including Building the Europe Link, with Latin America consortium (BELLA) – comprising regional data networks GÉANT, RedCLARA and the Latin America National Research and Education Networks – Cape Verde Telecoms and the Madeira Electricity Company.
BELLA, one of the anchor tenants, is an EU-funded programme providing longterm interconnectivity between Europe and Latin America. Since their interconnection in 2003, shareholders GÉANT and RedCLARA have seen connection speeds between the two continents grow by 1,600%. However, greater flow of data is restricted by the limited capacity of existing and indirect interconnector routes.
Subsea routes between Europe and Latin America have typically depended on connections to North America. The EllaLink system will bypass North America with its direct connection providing significantly lower latency (essentially the delay in the transmission of data) than existing routes.
Plans for the system include an additional branch route connecting to French Guyana, the CariLink system connecting French Guyana and Columbia, and branches to Africa via Cape Verde and Mauritania.