New partnership aims to use railway lines to boost 5G in Brazil

A project that could massively expand the available infrastructure for 5G in Brazil has been mooted by two major players in their fields in that country.

Brazilian telecoms company Surf Tech has reportedly signed a partnership with Rumo, a logistics company with a strong focus on railways, to jointly implement a rail-based fibre optic network on the country’s railway lines – to the benefit, it is hoped, of 5G.

The Tele.Síntese telecommunications, internet and ICTs portal says that the initial investment is estimated at R$1.5 billion (about $275.5 million), which will be raised through the issuance of debentures by Surf Tech.

Rumo’s participation appears to involve the assignment of the right to deploy optical fibre along the railway tracks it manages. The project could target as much as 14,000 kilometres of tracks managed by Rumo.

Local newspaper reports suggest that the network, designed to handle traffic of up to one billion Gpbs, could be a million times more powerful than an undersea cable connecting Brazil to the United States, with a transformative effect on the implementation of 5G in Brazil.

In fact more than 500 municipalities that currently host train lines managed by Rumo could benefit. Implemented by Surf Tech, such a project could be a major boost to sectors such as logistics, health and education.

Both parties are understandably upbeat about the prospects for such a project. According to the Executive Consulting Manager of Rumo, Renato Caldo, the partnership is “a milestone for the country’s infrastructure”. However, it’s now a question of when and how it might actually happen.