Chilean operator Entel said it has activated the first 5G connection in Antarctica, benefiting 191 permanent residents of Villa Las Estrellas, as well as hundreds of visitors to the settlement. In addition to military and research personnel, the settlement on King George Island some 1,500 kilometres from Punta Arenas on the Chilean mainland includes a bank, a post office, a library, a church and a hospital.

The connection was activated with a video call between Chilean Minister of Transport and Telecommunications, Juan Carlos Muñoz, in Villa Las Estrellas, and the Ministers of the Interior and Defence, Carolina Tohá and Maya Fernández in Santiago. 

Entel first connected Antarctica to the mainland in 1997 and has provided a 2G mobile telephony connection since 2005. The operator said the new 5G signal will benefit permanent and temporary residents on the world’s southernmost continent, above all in areas such as logistics, transportation, communications, health and scientific research.

At the end of last year, Chile’s telecommunications regulator Subtel signed a financing agreement with the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) to carry out a study into the feasibility of rolling out a submarine fibre-optic cable connecting Antarctica with the rest of the world through Chile.

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