Cable to Expand Cuba’s Internet Capacity

By John Rice

This little piece of news, hardly covered in corporate media, is extremely important. Rightwing critics constantly blast Cuba for not providing more Internet access individually to the general population. (Instead, it provides public sites and access through universities, medical, cultural and similar institutions). Cubans have usually responded by pointing out that the slow and limited Internet access on the island is due in large part to the U.S. refusal to allow the completion of an undersea fiber-optic cable between Cuba and the U.S.

—Karen Wald

A new undersea fiber-optic cable from Cuba to Venezuela should be finished within two years, a Venezuelan communications official said, dramatically expanding Cuba’s Internet and telephone capacity.

That’s well over 1,000 times the capacity of Cuba’s current satellite-based Internet link, which was listed as 65 megabytes per second on upload and 124 megabytes a second on download by Cuban Communications Minister Ramiro Valdes.

“It’s a very important project, not only for Venezuela and Cuba, it’s for all Latin American countries,” Duran said during an interview at an informatics convention.

Cuba has one of the region’s lowest rates of Internet usage. Officials say that is because the current bandwidth restrictions and U.S. threats against foreign suppliers of technology to Cuba force them to give priority to schools, researchers and essential businesses. Critics have accused the government of restricting Internet access to limit Cubans’ exposure to criticism or information
from abroad.

 

Ely Times, February 16, 2007