Cuba has activated the Jamaica branch of its ALBA-1 submarine cable, which connects the island with Venezuela, according to Doug Madory of internet analysis firm Renesys. Madory told The Associated Press that he detected new traffic between state-owned telecoms monopoly Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA) and Cable & Wireless Jamaica beginning 13 May 2013. ‘They’re gaining some physical diversity there, so if something were to happen to the main segment going to Venezuela, then they have this backup,’ Madory said. Previously, Cuba had to access the internet via expensive and slow satellite connections, but in January 2013 ETECSA confirmed that internet traffic was being carried by the island’s first submarine fibre-optic cable, almost two years after the system first landed on the island at Siboney beach. In a statement published in Cuban state newspaper Granma, 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.’
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