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Chile inaugurates the first stretch of its high speed optical network

In a milestone of collaborative work between scientists, professionals from the world of technologies and academics from La Serena and Santiago (northern and central Chile), and with direct connection by videoconference between both cities, was held on April 19, the inauguration ceremony of the first stretch of the High Speed Fiber Optic Network of REUNA, the Chilean National Research and Education Network.

This new network is the first result of a project that, framed in the Strategic Development Plan of the Chilean advanced network, is led by REUNA with the participation of the AURA Observatory, as responsible for the Great LSST Telescope project, and Telefónica, as a technological partner. The digital route was designed as an infrastructure for the enormous amount of data that LSST will generate as of 2021, and will be available for the open access of astronomers, scientists, academics and students between Santiago and La Serena.

The stretch will be illuminated with multiple channels of 100 Gigabits per second and in the rest of the year, another stretch will be inaugurated with the same technology, connecting the cities of the Santiago, Concepción and Temuco. Subsequently, between 2019 and 2020, REUNA will launch stretches between Serena-Arica and then Temuco-Puerto Montt, to finish between 2020 and 2021, with the potential integration of REUNA Networks to the Southern Optical Fiber of the Government of Chile, to unite the scientific and teaching community in the extreme south of the country.

The inauguration brought together public, academic and scientific authorities and experts from the world of astronomy and the industrial area, located in Santiago and La Serena, who analyzed the impact of having enabling infrastructures such as high-speed networks and access to huge repository of freely available astronomical data, laying the foundations for the various industries that increasingly produce and analyze more and more data.

The event included a telepanel between both locations, with the participation of: Christian Nicolai, Executive Director of Conicyt; Dr. Nibaldo Avilés, Rector of the University of La Serena; Dr. Chris Smith, Director of the AURA Observatory in Chile; Roberto Muñoz, General Manager of Telefónica in Chile; Dr. José Palacios, Chairman of the Board of Directors of REUNA, and Dr. Fernando Liello, Director for Europe of the BELLA project - Building the Europe Link to Latin America, an initiative that is working on the connection of Latin America and Europe through a submarine cable  that will unite both regions, and on the improvement of the capabilities of RedCLARA (and its step towards the constitution of an optical backbone in South America), which will be directly benefited by the REUNA effort.

"This first milestone is the materialization of a dream we coined in the 90s, working on the construction of networks to interconnect research centers and universities. This time we take a leap in speed and technology, deploying an avant-garde network with world-class standards that has been catalyzed by Astronomy projects, but that in its anteroom is extended and shared with research centers and universities in the network ", commented Paola Arellano, Executive Director of REUNA.

The mega digital infrastructure, which extends over 800 kilometers of fiber optic, becomes a large digital highway, with transversal access and capable of moving huge volumes of data at high speed. Chile thus ranks as the vanguard in Latin America in digital development and high quality connectivity for research and education. According to Arellano, there are few regional networks with these purposes that have long-distance infrastructure like this: "Today, thanks to this step, we share the leadership with Ecuador and Colombia that inaugurated their networks last year", concluded.

For more information about the inauguration and to read this information from its source, visit


BELLA II receives funding from the European Union through the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI), under agreement number 438-964 with DG-INTPA, signed in December 2022. The implementation period of BELLA II is 48 months.


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