Internet cable from Cuba to Jamaica comes online

May 21, 2013 by Peter Orsi

A new branch of the Venezuela-to-Cuba undersea fiber-optic cable has reportedly come online, linking the island to nearby Jamaica, increasing Cuba's potential international communications bandwidth and providing a backup for the main line.

Doug Madory of Internet analysis firm Renesys told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he detected new traffic between Cuban state telecom monopoly Etecsa and & Wireless Jamaica beginning May 13.

"They're gaining some physical diversity there, so if something were to happen to the main segment going to , then they have this backup," Madory said.

The ALBA-1 cable strung from Venezuela to Siboney beach in eastern went online in January, nearly two years after it was completed.

Previously, Cuba, which has the lowest online connectivity rates in the Western Hemisphere, had no hard-wired connection and relied solely on plodding satellite links.

It was not clear how much the new cable would augment Internet capacity, but island officials have boasted in the past that the ALBA-1 project would bring a 3,000-fold boost.

"From a technical standpoint, these are good steps to increase their connectivity to the world and hopefully one day get off of satellite," Madory said.

Some of the island's rare high-speed Internet connections have improved noticeably, though dial-up users have seen little appreciable gain so far.

In the wake of the ALBA-1's arrival, analysts and the government have said Cuba still has much work to do building networks to deliver that connection to end users.

"It will be necessary to invest in internal telecommunications infrastructure," Etecsa said in January. It added that it plans "gradual growth of a service that we offer mostly for free and with social aims in mind."

Just 2.9 percent of Cubans said they have access to the full Internet, according to the most recent government statistics, though outside analysts say the figure is probably between 5 and 10 percent, accounting for unreported black-market sales of dial-up minutes. About 16 percent have access to a limited domestic intranet.

Most Cubans who go online do so through school or work accounts. Home dial-up access is prohibitively expensive for the vast majority.

Explore further: Scientists twist radio beams to send data: Transmissions reach speeds of 32 gigabits per second

not rated yet
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 turns on fiber-optic IT link to Venezuela (Update)

Jan 24, 2013

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 ...

Fiber-optic communications cable arrives in Cuba

Feb 09, 2011

(AP) -- A long-awaited undersea fiber-optic cable linking Cuba with the outside world arrived on the island on Wednesday, promising a bandwidth bonanza for a country saddled with exorbitant telephone rates and among the ...

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.

Recommended for you

Microsoft delays launch of Xbox in China

1 hour ago

Microsoft, which was due to launch the Xbox One in China on Tuesday, has said it will put back the "historic" event to later this year, slowing what was billed as the first game console to enter the market ...

Oculus unveils new prototype VR headset

Sep 20, 2014

Oculus has unveiled a new prototype of its virtual reality headset. However, the VR company still isn't ready to release a consumer edition.

User comments : 0