Cuba confirms first submarine cable is active

25 Jan 2013

In a statement published in Cuban newspaper Granma, state-owned telecoms operator Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA) has confirmed that internet traffic is being carried by the island’s first submarine fibre-optic cable. The telecoms monopoly stated that the Alternativa Bolivariana para los Pueblos de nuestra America (ALBA-1) cable, which connects Cuba to Venezuela, has been carrying international voice traffic since August 2012, while data traffic tests have been carried out on the cable since 10 January 2013. When the testing process is completed, however, ETECSA noted that the launch of the cable ‘will not automatically mean that the possibility of access will increase,’ adding that investment in the domestic telecoms infrastructure is required and that even then the goal is ‘gradual growth of a service that we offer mostly for free and with social aims in mind.’ Historically, Cuba has had to access the internet via expensive and slow satellite connections, but earlier this month internet monitoring firm Renesys observed that the ALBA-1 cable had finally been activated, almost two years after the system first landed on the island.

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