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Speech by President of the Government at event to present underwater telecommunications cable

Sao Paulo, Monday 24 April 2017

​Mr Minister for Science, Technology, Innovation and Telecommunications, Gilberto Kassab; Mr Minister for Foreign Affairs; governors; Mr Chairman of Telebras; Mr Chairman of Ella-Link, Alfonso Gajate; ladies and gentlemen,

On the occasion of my first official visit to Brazil, it gives me great pleasure to take part in the presentation of the ELLA-LINK project, which, as you are all aware, is the underwater cable between Europe and Latin America.

The underwater cable connection between Europe and America will finally travel through the South Atlantic. The 10,000-kilometres of very-high capacity fibre optic will link, as we have just heard, the cities of Fortaleza and Lisbon, and from there on to Madrid.

This modern connection will reduce the time to transmit data between the two continents by 40%. We will improve quality, reliability and the confidentiality of connections between Ibero-America and Europe.

I wish to take this opportunity to congratulate all those who have taken part in this pioneering project. It is pioneering because, although the first underwater cable that joined the two continents was laid long ago, back in 1850, the connection was then with the United States whereas now it is with Ibero-America.

As you all know, that copper cable broke within a year after accidentally tangling with the nets of a fishing vessel. Less than a decade later, another cable was laid, but it could only transmit 732 telegrams. Progress continued to be made, and by the end of the 19th Century, 15 underwater cables had been laid between North America and Europe.

More than a century later, in April 2017, you are going to make the connection through Ibero-America, that will reach Europe through the Iberian Peninsula and will have a very high capacity, of no less than 72 terabytes per second.

I want to congratulate you on what not only constitutes technical progress, which indeed it also is, but because this is a necessary connection between Europe and Ibero-America. ELLA-LINK is much more than a joint project between a Brazilian company and a European company from Spain. This is more than an example of public-private cooperation; it has also included the very important collaboration of the European Union, which has contributed 25 million euros to this project. Above all, this is a project that joins two continents, a union that symbolises the special ties that link Europe and America, and which is manifested in our shared past and in the reality of a present that lights up a future full of opportunities. This is a project with tremendous strategic value.

Through ELLA-LINK, we are also investing in science and technology since, in parallel, the Bella Project has also been structured, a consortium of scientific and academic networks from the two continents: the RedCLARA network, which works to strengthen the development of science, culture, education and innovation in Latin America, and the GÉANT Network, which undertakes this important task in Europe.

I am convinced that ELLA-LINK will take a huge stride in interconnecting our two continents, with a vocation to then extend throughout Ibero-America to the Pacific coast, to connect, among other places, with the European Southern Observatory located in Chile.

I wish you every success in the hope that this cable connects us to a better future for everyone and, as I said at the beginning, I am tremendously honoured to be here with all of you.

Thank you very much.