By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter

MANAUS, BRAZIL – Italian telecom giant TIM has unveiled a new R$171 million (US$84 million) plan to bring high-speed internet to Brazil’s Amazon region, accounting for over 45 percent of the country’s territory, but only around 6.5 percent of its population.

Amazon River confluence, Brazil News
Pylons as much as 320 feet high have had to be erected to traverse some of the bigger rivers, such as the Amazon (pictured), photo by CIAT/Flickr Creative Commons License.

The project, which has been dubbed “Transamazônica Digital,” plans to lay a 1,118-mile (1,800-kilometer) fiber optic network in 27 municipalities in three of the region’s seven states – Amazonas, Pará and Amapá – requiring 3,600 pylons and eight substations to be erected.

Cicero Olivieri, TIM Brasil’s Network Director, says around half of the network has already been laid, but that the team has come up against endless challenges during the installation process.

He cites transportation issues, flooded areas, swamps and boat jams as some of most complicating factors in the operation.

The network is expected to be completed by June 2013 and then the region will be switched over from its current satellite feed – increasing connection speeds by up to 5,000 times.

TIM is hoping for a ten-percent increase in its customer base in the Amazonas and Amapá capitals, Manaus and Macapá, alone.

Although the investment will undoubtedly help Brazil’s unique Northern region to develop at a far greater rate than before, at the heart of the endeavor is the need to ready Manaus for its role in the 2014 World Cup and for the eventual roll-out of 4G services in the region.

Read more (in Portuguese).

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