Gran Caribe Telecommunications, a Venezuelan-Cuban joint venture, has finished mapping out a planned 1,550km underwater fiber-optic cable linking the two countries, and is in the process of designing details of the project and selecting a provider to build the system. A spokesperson for the start-up company, formed by state-run Telecom Venezuela (formerly CVG Telecom) and Cuba’s Telecommunication Signals Transport Co (Transbit), said a main supplier will be chosen in August and the submarine cabling deployed by the end of 2009 or early 2010; the system could be up and running in the first half of 2010. Gran Caribe plans to lay two pairs of fibre-optic cables running from the Venezuelan state of Vargas to the province of Santiago de Cuba, potentially increasing the island’s international communications capacity by 3,000 times. Cuba has been isolated from major international submarine cable projects, mainly due to its strained political relations with the US.
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