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Cable to expand Cuba's internet capacity
A new undersea fiber-optic cable from Cuba to Venezuela should be finished within two years, a Venezuelan communications official said Thursday, dramatically expanding Cuba's internet and telephone capacity.

Julio Duran, president of state-run Telecom Venezuela, told The Associated Press that the deal signed in late January calls for a line with a capacity of 160 gigabytes per second.

That's well over 1,000 times the capacity of Cuba's current satellite-based internet link, which was listed as 65 megabytes per second on upload and 124 megabytes a second on download by Cuban Communications Minister Ramiro Valdes.

It will break through what Cuban officials describe as choking restrictions imposed by the U.S. commercial embargo on Cuba, which they blame for blocking possible connections with existing privately owned fiber-optic lines in the region.

"It's a very important project, not only for Venezuela and Cuba, it's for all Latin American countries," Duran said during an interview at an informatics convention.

The project was part of a series of agreements signed late last month as Venezuela's socialist President Hugo Chavez moved toward firmer political and economic ties with his Cuban ally.

Cuba has one of the region's lowest rates of internet usage. Officials say that is because the current bandwidth restrictions and U.S. threats against foreign suppliers of technology to Cuba force them to give priority to schools, researchers and essential businesses. Critics have accused the government of restricting internet access to limit Cubans' exposure to criticism or information from abroad.
24 Mar 2007 by admin
The Havana Journal



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