Cuba Says Internet Cable Now Operational

January 24, 2013 | Print Print |

Graphic: cubadebate.cu

HAVANA TIMES — A statement by the Telecommunications Company of Cuba (ETECSA) reports today that the Internet cable connecting the island with Venezuela is now operational.

“The ALBA-1 fiber-optic underwater telecommunications cable linking Cuba with Venezuela and Jamaica has been operational since August 2012, initially providing service to voice traffic for international telephone calls,” said the company.

The note adds that “testing of the quality of Internet traffic has been performed on the system since January 10. The same has been done on real traffic to and from Cuba in order to standardize this communication link.”

Notwithstanding, ETECSA notes that after the tests are completed, this “does not mean there will be an automatic increase in opportunities for access. Investments will need to be made first in the internal telecommunications infrastructure as well as an increase in foreign exchange resources.”

The Cuban government has thereby ended its official silence on the issue while closing the door to immediate changes in internet service on the island.


What's your opinion?

  • Griffin

    It’s been a long time coming. They could have had internet service long ago.

    “In 2009 Barack Obama authorised American companies to provide internet services to the island. But Cuba showed no interest in exploring the possibility. Instead it turned to its ally and benefactor, Venezuela.”

    http://www.economist.com/node/18285798

    • ac

      Yes, because trusting an openly country hostile with the communication link with the rest of the world is such a wonderful idea.

      • Moses Patterson

        So you think the US can’t monitor the internet traffic in Cuba because they are connected to Venezuela instead? Keep in mind it was because the American company Renesys reported to an American magazine ‘Network World’ that internet traffic leaving the island has increased in speed that the Castros were forced to admit the operational status of the link. Avoiding listening ears is not the reason.

        • Luis

          Newsflash: brute traffic (in and out) analysis is one thing. You don’t have to be root to do that. Package sniffing is a whole different story, and that’s what ac talked about. And Renesys took the data from Telefonica, BTW.

        • ac

          Is not just about monitoring, is about selective filtering, throttling or even severing the link if the occasion requires it, after all the US see Cuba as an hostile state an in war everything is fair target.

          The bottom line is that Cuba may want a second link via US for redundancy purposes (as well as the satellite uplink); but trusting US for a primary link is a VERY bad idea and if they were that stupid they would not have lasted 50 years.

  • Luis

    “Investments will need to be made first in the internal
    telecommunications infrastructure as well as an increase in foreign
    exchange resources.”

    What did I say about network infrastructure again? About the lack of a fiber-optic backbone within Cuba? Nevermind. The haters are going to hate anyway.

    • Moses Patterson

      What you are suggesting is not practical. Have you been to Cuba? The Castros barely have the money to buy paint and floor rags used to mop floors. Hospitals reuse surgical gloves. A streetlight in Havana at the corner of 25th and Infanta fell down in 2008 during Hurricane Ike. It is still laying down in the street in front of Radio Progreso. If Cubans will have to wait until thousands of miles of expensive fiber optic cable is strewn throughout the island before they have access to high-speed internet, it will never happen. What you say makes sense anywhere else but we are talking about Cuba.

      • Luis

        You contradict yourself with your first reply and actually reinforce what I said. You even contradict what you said on the first hand when I talked about network infrastructure – on that occasion you agreed with me. If Cuba lacks resources on far more vital areas (and the trade embargo you promptly defend certainly doesn’t help), how would anybody expect the cable to ‘magically’ offer broadband access to end-users? BTW, I forgot to mention the fortune that costs a single high-end switcher-router, and many are necessary to implement any high-speed network.

        That’s why haters are going to hate. No matter what.

        • Griffin

          The entire cost of this fibre optic link was paid by Venezuela. The installation was carried put by a consortium from UK & France. The equipment came from France.

          In 2009, Obama authorized US companies to provide internet services to Cuba. The Castro government refused it.

          So much for your embargo & lack of money excuses.

  • Moses Patterson

    Is this good news for the Castros? Does this mean that Cuba now has the capability of providing univeral access to high-speed internet and chooses not to do so? Through greater bandwidth and faster speeds, photos and video will be easier to upload as well as download. Does this put the Castro dictatorship at greater risk? What is the point of banning cable TV from Miami if you can now watch it online? Does anyone with a camera phone with internet access instantly become an independent reporter for CNN. It will be harder to deny public human rights violations if there are cellphones everywhere recording what actually took place. The next step the Castros take will prove what they really think about the internet.