Following the Obama Administration's removal of telecom restrictions under a previous embargo the U.S. had with Cuba, TeleCuba has secured licenses from the U.S. Department of the Treasury to build a submarine cable between Key West, Fla. and Havana. TeleCuba says the new 110-mile-long cable will cost about $18 million. In April, the U.S. government said it would allow service providers to build out optical cable and satellite facilities that would link the U.S. and Cuba, allow roaming service agreements with Cuban wireless operators, and allow U.S. service providers to enhance the service they provide in the Cuban telecom market.
This is not a newly hatched plan. The service provider, which has been working on the cable since 1999, said the cable will be up and running by Q2 2011. With this cable, TeleCuba says it will be able to provide a host of new services including high speed Internet and cable TV, services that are not possible over satellite. It appears that TeleCuba is one of the first U.S. operators to go public with its plan while other major U.S. operators have remained mum on any potential plans to penetrate the region.
Although the Cuban market has a great deal of growth potential, experts say it's unlikely large incumbent service providers will rush to provide services in the market. Not only will they have to deal with a well established base of European providers in the region including Telecom Italia and Telefonica, but Cuba will have to change its regulatory stance to allow U.S. service providers to conduct business in the country.
- see the release here
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