A report by Internet analysis firm Renesys was released earlier this week where they believe Cuba activated an undersea fiber-optic cable the week prior, bringing broadband speeds to the country. The undersea fiber-optic cable has officially been confirmed by Etecsa, which is a Cuba’s government-owned telecom provider.
The cable runs 994 miles, which is estimated to cost $70 million, and connects directly to Venezula and has been operational since August. It was originally completed in February 2011 to then begin operating in July 2011, which officials didn’t explain why exactly it nearly took a year to start using it.
The use of the undersea fiber-optic cable to Venezuela wouldn’t mean Cuba would start lifting its restrictions on Internet access. In a statement published in Cuba’s state-run Granma newspaper, Etecsa warns the “conclusion of the testing process … will not automatically mean an increase in access” for Cubans to the Internet. This would explain why Renesys saw Internet traffic from the undersea fiber-optic cable was only transmitting incoming traffic.
The 994 mile fiber-optic cable to Venezuela was created due to U.S. embargo ban that denies Cuba access to already established underwater Internet cables, one of which runs just 20 miles from Havana, connecting Miami to Cancun, Mexico.