Cuba's submarine cable is finally activated

Cuba's much talked about ALBA-1 submarine cable linking the country to the Internet via Venezuela is now carrying traffic, nearly two years after the system was built.

According to a Reuters article, citing data from Renesys, an Internet monitoring firm, there have been lower network latency in Cuba, while Telefonica has started to provide service to the country's state-owned telco Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA).

Although the 1,600-km ALBA-1 cable established a landing on Siboney beach in Cuba in February 2011, there have been no reports on when it would start providing service.

Up until now Cuba used satellite connections to access the Internet, so the new cable could be the start of providing ETECSA a faster route to the Internet.

Broadband Internet services are not available through state-run ETECSA, and the small minority of the population that uses the Internet are plagued with slow connections. As of 2011, a National Statistics Office said there were 2.6 million Internet users out of a population of 11.2 million. However, the majority of them were likely on the government-filtered intranet.

ALBA-1 is not the only cable that's been proposed for Cuba, however.

In October 2009, TeleCuba, a competitive carrier providing services to Cuba, secured licenses from the U.S. Treasury Dept. to build a submarine cable between Key West, Fla. and Havana. The service provider received the licenses after the Obama Administration removed telecom restrictions under a previous embargo the United States had with Cuba.

For more:
- Reuters has this article

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