Cuba turns on fiber-optic IT link to Venezuela (Update)

Jan 24, 2013
Divers from the Venezuelan state-run oil company PDVSA work on the installation of a fiber optic cable between their country and Cuba, in the coastal city of La Guaria, some 40 km from Caracas, on January 22, 2011. An undersea fiber-optic cable stretching from Cuba to Venezuela has been switched on, in the first hard-wired link from the communist-run island to international telecom networks.

An undersea fiber-optic cable stretching from Cuba to Venezuela has been switched on, in the first hard-wired link from the communist-run island to international telecom networks, the state telecom agency announced Thursday.

Havana has been unable to join other undersea fiber-optic cable networks due to a US embargo.

But state telecom company Etecsa said the new Internet link, which also extends to Jamaica, would not mean the island was lifting its restrictions on Internet access.

"Since last January 10, we began to perform quality testing of Internet traffic on the system. They are conducted using real traffic to and from Cuba," Etecsa said in a statement published in the state-run Granma newspaper.

The 1,600-kilometer (994-mile) cable, estimated to cost $70 million, was actually completed in February 2011 and was due to come into operation in July 2011. However, officials never explained why it remained unused.

In its statement, Etecsa said the cable has been "operational since August 2012," and was initially tested with international telephone traffic.

But it warned that the "conclusion of the testing process ... will not automatically mean an increase in access" for Cubans to the Internet.

"It will be necessary to make investments in the domestic telecommunications infrastructure and increase foreign exchange resources to pay for Internet traffic in order to achieve the gradual growth of a service we provide mostly for free today," Etecsa said.

A US embargo bans Cuban access to underwater Internet cables, one of which runs from Miami to Cancun, Mexico, a mere 32 kilometers (20 miles) from Havana.

Because of this, Cuba had connected to the Internet via slower satellites. The government has blamed the limited bandwidth for restrictions on Internet access, saying it forces them to "prioritize" it for "social use" purposes, with universities, companies and research centers favored.

Dissidents have said the government's true goal is to control access to information.

The lack of details explaining the cable's operational delay also sparked reactions.

"Remember, the cable has a lifespan of 25 years. The clock is ticking," the official blogger Arian Perez wrote on his blog earlier this month.

The project is considered one of the most ambitious examples of cooperation between the close allies in Caracas and Havana, where Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is convalescing following cancer surgery in December.

Explore further: Hand out money with my mobile? I think I'm ready

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Report: Cuba using undersea fiber-optic cable

Jan 21, 2013

Cuba apparently has finally switched on the first undersea fiber-optic cable linking it to the outside world nearly two years after its arrival, according to analysis by a company that monitors global Internet use.

Telefonica: 'No involvement' with Cuba cable (Update 2)

Jan 22, 2013

Spanish telecom Telefonica denied Tuesday that it has anything to do with an undersea fiber-optic cable between Cuba and Venezuela, even as an analyst who monitors global data traffic noted an additional uptick in data spe ...

Cuba says US behind illegal wireless networks

Nov 14, 2011

Cuba accused the United States on Monday of enabling illegal Internet connections in its territory and said several people were arrested in April for profiting from the wireless networks.

Miami firm says it will lay first US-Cuba fiber

Oct 13, 2009

(AP) -- A small Miami-based company says the U.S. government has given it permission to lay the first optical communications fiber from the U.S. to Cuba. That could drastically cut the cost of calling the island nation and ...

Recommended for you

Hand out money with my mobile? I think I'm ready

Apr 17, 2014

A service is soon to launch in the UK that will enable us to transfer money to other people using just their name and mobile number. Paym is being hailed as a revolution in banking because you can pay peopl ...

Quantenna promises 10-gigabit Wi-Fi by next year

Apr 16, 2014

(Phys.org) —Quantenna Communications has announced that it has plans for releasing a chipset that will be capable of delivering 10Gbps WiFi to/from routers, bridges and computers by sometime next year. ...

Tech giants look to skies to spread Internet

Apr 16, 2014

The shortest path to the Internet for some remote corners of the world may be through the skies. That is the message from US tech giants seeking to spread the online gospel to hard-to-reach regions.

Wireless industry makes anti-theft commitment

Apr 16, 2014

A trade group for wireless providers said Tuesday that the biggest mobile device manufacturers and carriers will soon put anti-theft tools on the gadgets to try to deter rampant smartphone theft.

Dish Network denies wrongdoing in $2M settlement

Apr 15, 2014

The state attorney general's office says Dish Network Corp. will reimburse Washington state customers about $2 million for what it calls a deceptive surcharge, but the satellite TV provider denies any wrongdoing.

Netflix's Comcast deal improves quality of video

Apr 14, 2014

Netflix's videos are streaming through Comcast's Internet service at their highest speeds in the past 17 months now that Netflix is paying for a more direct connection to Comcast's network.

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

ChangBroot
3 / 5 (4) Jan 24, 2013
Congratulations to both of those countries. It's a step forward in the face of West's crimes against humanity. Well done Cuba and Venezuela!
VendicarD
3 / 5 (4) Jan 24, 2013
Inch by inch nations like Cuba are being pulled toward a socialist, mixed ecconomy.

It is the destiny of all thinking people.

More news stories

Hackers of Oman news agency target Bouteflika

Hackers on Sunday targeted the website of Oman's official news agency, singling out and mocking Algeria's newly re-elected president Abdelaziz Bouteflika as a handicapped "dictator".

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.

Low tolerance for pain? The reason may be in your genes

Researchers may have identified key genes linked to why some people have a higher tolerance for pain than others, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 66th Annual ...

How to keep your fitness goals on track

(HealthDay)—The New Year's resolutions many made to get fit have stalled by now. And one expert thinks that's because many people set their goals too high.