According to Reuters, there will soon be a 1,000 mile, undersea fiber-optic cable connecting Cuba and socialist ally Venezuela. The new technology will eventually help Cuba increase its incredibly slow Internet connection. According to the country, its inferior technology and Internet service is due to the US trade embargo that has been upheld for decades.
Leftist group ALBA (founded by Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez) funded the $70 million cable, which will be connected in July. Cubans have complained that their seriously lacking Internet capabilities have been caused by the government, which is attempting to limit citizens’ access to outside influence and information. Deputy information and communications minister Jorge Luis Perdomo recently claimed there are no political reasons for the technology barriers. At the moment, Cubans only option for an Internet connection is satellite, which is spendy and slow – and it’s reported that only 14 out of every 100 Cubans have even accessed the Web since 2009.
Once the cable is in place, users will be able to reach download speeds 3,000 times faster than they currently do. The US also recently approved the export of Internet services to the country, which will put various new software into Cubans’ hands. The government itself also appears to be loosening its reigns over the Internet reigns: The country finally stopped blocking a well known blog (run by Cuban dissident, Yoani Sanchez), Generation Y, as well as a host of other previously banned websites. A black market for Internet connection has existed in Cuba for some time now, and the introduction of mass availability may actually allow the government more control over its country’s telecommunications habits.