Economy

Submarine Internet cable to link Brazil and Europe

SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil's state-run telecom company Telebras said Wednesday that a submarine cable for Internet transmissions between Latin America's biggest country and Europe will be laid starting this year.

Spokesman Ronald Valladao said the company's board authorized Telebras to sign an agreement with Spain's IslaLink Submarine Cables to lay and operate the cable. He said the $185 million project is expected to begin operating in early 2016.

Telebras will have a 35 percent stake in the Brazilian company that will be formed to operate the trans-Atlantic cable while IslaLink will have a 45 percent stake and another Brazilian partner will have a 20 percent stake, Valladao said.

He said the project started being planned in 2012, before last year's revelations about the U.S. spy program carried out by the National Security Agency. However, he added, the cable will help protect Internet communications between Brazil and Europe.

Last year, the O Globo newspaper said information released by NSA leaker Edward Snowden showed Brazil as the top target in Latin America for the agency's huge intelligence-gathering effort aimed at monitoring communications around the world. The NSA's espionage activities reportedly included the monitoring of President Dilma Rousseff's cellphone and the hacking into the internal network of state-run oil company Petrobras.

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