Fiber-optic cable linking Cuba to Venezuela, Jamaica to come online in 2011
Havana, Oct 9, 2010 (EFE via COMTEX) --
A $70 million undersea fiber-optic cable
that will link Cuba with Venezuela and Jamaica is due to start
operating in July 2011, Cuban media reported.
The project, which will involve laying two pairs of submarine
cable over a distance of 5,340 kilometers (3,320 miles), will
dramatically multiply Cuba's connectivity capacity, the official
news agency Prensa Latina reported Friday, citing officials on the
Deputy Informatics and Communications Minister Alberto Rodriguez
said the cable "will strengthen national sovereignty and security"
in keeping with the integration aims of the eight-member Bolivarian
Alliance for the Americas, or ALBA, an international cooperation
organization founded by Cuba and close ally Venezuela in 2004.
The cable will enable "greater quality in info-communication
services" and create "more favorable conditions for confronting
future developments," Rodriguez said at the start of a business
forum in Havana.
The main cable will link the northern Venezuelan city of La
Guaira with the southeastern Cuban city of Santiago de Cuba - a
distance of 1,552 kilometers (965 miles) - and have a
640-gigabyte-per-second capacity, while the other segment will
connect Cuba and Jamaica.
Waldo Reboredo, vice president of Telecomunicaciones Gran Caribe
S.A., the Cuban-Venezuelan joint venture that will operate the
undersea cable, said the "shark-proof" cable will be financed with
Venezuelan bank loans as well as the company's own funds and have a
lifespan of 25 years.
Reboredo added that the cable will allow the island to "multiply
its current data, image and voice transmission speeds by 3,000,"
reduce operation costs by 25 percent and could be extended in the
future to Haiti, the Dominican Republic and the Lesser Antilles.
But he noted that these technological advances "will not imply an
end" to Cuba's current satellite-based Internet service, which he
said is "all Havana is allowed due to U.S. hostility."
Cuban authorities accuse Washington of preventing the island from
accessing the Internet via undersea cables, one of which connects
Cancun, Mexico and Miami and passes just 32 kilometers (20 miles)
northwest of Havana.
Cuba has had a satellite-based Internet link since 1996 that
offers a 65-megabyte-per-second upload bandwidth and a 124 Mb/s
download bandwidth; according to the Cuban government, any
modification of the channel must be licensed by the U.S. Treasury
Havana blames the United States' decades-old economic embargo on
Cuba for high costs, slow speeds and the fact that Internet service
on the island is almost entirely restricted to companies and some
professionals in fields such as health and culture. EFE
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