The Associated Press reports that a planned undersea high speed fibre-optic cable from Venezuela to Cuba will not be ready for service until July 2011 at the earliest, whilst project costs have risen to an expected USD70 million from an earlier reckoning of USD63 million. The Cuban Communist Party-backed newspaper Granma quoted Alberto Rodriguez, Cuba’s vice minister of information and communications, as predicting the ten-month timeframe for the 5,000km project linking Cuba, Jamaica and Venezuela, although he did not reveal any details of how far work had progressed. Alcatel-Lucent is under contract to roll out the international cable link, which was first announced in January 2007 to end Cuba’s reliance on satellites and reduce the cost of telephony and internet services on the island, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database.
As previously reported in CommsUpdate, Venezuelan/Cuban joint venture Telecomunicaciones Gran Caribe (TGC) was granted a licence in November 2009 to install a submarine cable between Caracas (Venezuela), Havana (Cuba) and Kingston (Jamaica). TGC was the sole bidder for the concession, which includes a spur to Haiti. TGC is 60% owned by state-run Telecom Venezuela with the remainder held by Cuba’s Telco Transbit. In March 2010 Cable & Wireless confirmed it had struck a deal with TGC to build the Jamaica-Cuba link, says GlobalComms.