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Networking The Internet Technology

Cuba Turns On Submarine Internet Cable 132

angry tapir writes "A change in Internet traffic patterns over the past week suggests that Cuba may have turned on a fiber-optic submarine cable that links it to the global Internet via Venezuela. Routing analyst firm Renesys noticed that the Spanish telecommunications company Telefónica began routing Internet traffic to Cuba's state telecommunications company, Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba S.A. (ETECSA). The Internet traffic is flowing with significantly lower latencies than before, indicating the connection is not solely using the three satellite providers that Cuba has relied on in the past for connectivity."
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Cuba Turns On Submarine Internet Cable

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Oh, wait !! LAS REVOLUCION !!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "Las" is plural. I think you meant "La revolución".

  • Well (Score:3, Funny)

    by GeekWithAKnife ( 2717871 ) on Monday January 21, 2013 @09:09AM (#42646037)
    I guess it's time for a Cuba Libre. Cheers.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 21, 2013 @09:10AM (#42646051)

    To finally have internet access on their submarines must be a godsend. I wonder how they avoid getting the cable tangled as the maneuver though.

    • To finally have internet access on their submarines must be a godsend. I wonder how they avoid getting the cable tangled as the maneuver though.

      They've got a larger one of these: []

    • "cable" is figurative here.

      Never underestimate the bandwidth of a submarine full of tapes.

      Sure, the bandwidth of a surface vessel would be even more, but submarine transport is harder to intercept.

      • by gmhowell ( 26755 )

        Not sure how they used subs to get both higher bandwidth and lower latencies. Seems unpossible.

    • To finally have internet access on their submarines must be a godsend. I wonder how they avoid getting the cable tangled as the maneuver though.

      You have to keep your submarine on the surface, and out in the deeper waters. Sadly, this means they may never see port again, but they do have faster downloads. And fake girlfriends.

  • Just ask (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <mojo@world3.nBLUEet minus berry> on Monday January 21, 2013 @09:10AM (#42646055) Homepage Journal

    Just ask them if it is active. Don't speculate. They have no reason to hide it, and every reason to boast that their internet connections just got better.

    The author seems to have mistaken Cuba for North Korea.

    • Re:Just ask (Score:5, Insightful)

      by vlm ( 69642 ) on Monday January 21, 2013 @09:47AM (#42646273)

      Just ask them if it is active. Don't speculate

      Assuming their Venezuelan peer didn't connect to them via satellite and does now connect via fiber, it should be simple to log into your nearest BGP speaking router and/or check a looking glass web interface for the cuban ISP AS number and see if it now has a path via the fiber instead of / in addition to the path via the existing satellite providers.

      That's how you "don't speculate". Is there a BGP path over that fiber or not?

      Of course if the path won't change if all that changes is layer 1/layer 2 from satellite to fiber.

      This is assuming Cuba has enough traffic to warrant being a "real" ISP with BGP peers and full routes. I suspect they do?

  • Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 21, 2013 @09:10AM (#42646057)

    Use this as a chance to end the embargo against Cuba. It has been 50 years, let's move on. If we can now trade with Burma and Vietnam, then why the hell should be still be fucking with Cuba?

    • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 21, 2013 @09:19AM (#42646121)

      1)To get votes from the Cuban community from Miami.
      2)To protect US corn farmers and corn syrup from imports of cane sugar from Cuba.

      • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anne Thwacks ( 531696 ) on Monday January 21, 2013 @09:46AM (#42646267)
        3) To protect certain TV channels from the influx of good music
      • I've also heard some things about the Hawaiian tourist lobby having some push here too. Does anyone know if that's still true?

    • by Diamon ( 13013 )

      Yep, drop the embargo, pull back the curtain on the Great & Powerful Oz. Take away the Cuban government's ability to blame poverty on the US, make them deal with their problems or face the repercussions. If we haven't gotten things straightened out when it's time for Raúl Castro's presidency to come to a close, we set ourselves up for another potential 50+ years of unfriendly relations with our closest neighbor.

      • by Diamon ( 13013 )

        Yeah, I meant *one of our* closest, not closest. Obviously Mexico and Canada are closer.

    • by cusco ( 717999 )
      Cuba doesn't have any appreciable amount of oil, like Burma does, and won't operate sweatshops like Vietnam does.
    • Use this as a chance to end the embargo against Cuba. It has been 50 years, let's move on. If we can now trade with Burma and Vietnam, then why the hell should be still be fucking with Cuba?

      Canada has been doing it for years. Cuba has poverty, because and only because of the USA embargos, but they have superb medical care, and superb university education, which is second to none. That is why Chavez went to Cuba, instead of a Cancer clinic in the USA. Better treatment and better care. Not all American for profit medical centers are there for patients.

      Anyway, time for embargoes to end. The Internet will do that, and changes will come slowly, so as to protect the society. Rapid changes wil

  • You don't 'turn on' a cable. How about 'start using'?

    Not sure that this is either news for geeks, or news that matters, unless you live in Cuba.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You don't turn on a TV, you just supply electrical potential to certain components. And you don't start a car, you just start using certain electrical pathways that start using certain valves and motors to supply fuel, oxygen, and a periodic ignition source.

      'Turn on' is a valid way to describe going online. From a systems and communications point of view, it isn't that much different from turning on a lightbulb (it just has a lot more components).

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      You don't 'turn on' a cable.

      you've never had your cable turned on?

      • by n6kuy ( 172098 )

        No, he's right.

        While a cable certainly can carry porn, it not really capable of getting excited by it.

    • by vlm ( 69642 )

      You don't 'turn on' a cable. How about 'start using'?

      Try harder

      Layer 1 - plug the damn thing in, "interface wtf0 enter no shut enter". Remove the testing loopback plugs, hopefully from each end. Unplug the OTDR and plug in the GBIC. Whatever.

      Layer 2 - is kinda implementation dependent.

      Layer 3 - "router bgp wtf enter neighbor wtf remote-as wtf" or if its already up, change your AS path regexes or route-maps to actually allow traffic to flow. Or change your prepending so instead of prepending your AS 50 times to force all traffic off the fiber, prepend 50 t

    • by rossdee ( 243626 )

      "You don't 'turn on' a cable"

      No, but you can trip over it
      I have done that many times, I must tidy up my office.

      BTW the rest of the world welcomes Cuba to the 20th century

    • Re:Turn on? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rogueippacket ( 1977626 ) on Monday January 21, 2013 @10:40AM (#42646719)
      Oddly enough, a lot of ISP's in North America actually monitor the traffic flowing to/from embargoed or troubled nations. Not necessarily deep inspection, but they do count the source/destination IP addresses and record the daily volumes.
      Now, we need to consider traffic flowing out of Venezuela as another route to Cuba. It's fairly important if you peer with Telefonica directly, or if your job is to monitor this stuff.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Who is running the betting pool on how long it will be before it is "accidentally" cut by some ship's anchor dragging across it?
  • by cheese-cube ( 910830 ) <> on Monday January 21, 2013 @09:36AM (#42646207) Homepage
    The most interesting thing which the summary skipped over is from the Renesys article which states that apparently Cuba is only using the new fibre cable for downstream traffic and that upstream traffic is still going out via their satellite links.
    • Well duh. For that you'd need two tubes^H^H^H^H^Hcables.
    • by funkboy ( 71672 )

      probably because they haven't installed DPI boxes to monitor the new link, and they'd likely need bigger ones given the bandwidth.

      But they likely only want to see the messages going out anyway...

  • by mooboy ( 191903 ) on Monday January 21, 2013 @09:42AM (#42646251)

    First they turn on their capitalist landowners and now they have turned on their Submarine Internet Cable! Don't you know what's good for you, Cuba?

    • by Bengie ( 1121981 )
      That was my first impression of the phrase "turned on", in this context. I was like.. Did Cuba start "attacking" their Internet?
  • Interesting Enigma (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 21, 2013 @09:44AM (#42646263)

    I'm not sure what or how much difference this cable will make for the immediate future.

    Cuba is a really interesting enigma. The Cuban government (and some misinformed Americans) likes to blame the U.S. embargo on Cuba's woes, being poor with little hope of advancement. But, the reality is that ALL of Cuba's woes are the failure of the Cuban government.

    Sure, the U.S. and some of its allies own't (aren't allowed) to trade with Cuba, but the vast majority of the world can and will trade with Cuba. A few actually do trade. Countries like Canada, the E.U., Japan, Australia, Russia, India, China, most Latin American countries... They all willingly trade with Cuba. But, they require Cuba to pay them for goods and that is where Cuba suffers. Due to mismanagement by the Cuban government and their ideology, they have never had a strong enough economy nor enough money to buy the things that they need or should have as a modern country.

    We are always shown the crumbling buildings and the 1950s era cars on the streets of Havana. But, there are a fair few brand new Peugots, Renaults, Toyotas and more driving around on Cuba's roads. But, they are all being driven by the extremely wealthy, government officials or tourists. There are fabulous opulent and modern resorts in Cuba. There are citizens with expensive yachts around Havana. The media never shows this and the Cuban government keeps it on the DL so that the local population doesn't get upset about it, but its all there.

    Recently, there have been reports of food shortages in Cuba. Why? Cuba is a Caribbean island that is extremely fertile. They could, and in the past have been able to feed themselves. Once upon a time Cuba exported food, as well as other resources. Sure, the U.S. market isn't open to them, but all the rest of the world is. Yet they fail so miserably that they are now struggling to feed the populace? That's gross mismanagement. That's Fidel's fault. Raul may or may not be turning to a better course, but for the past 50 years, the management has been the cause of Cuba's problems.

    All of Cuba's woes are caused by their government's poor management and failed ideology.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 21, 2013 @09:50AM (#42646299)

      I've been there and it didnt look very woeful to me.

      A lot of the ancient 1950s gas guzzlers have been replaced. People everwhere on the island were wearing new clothes. New roads were under construction. Pretty much like any 3rd world country that is modernising.

      There didnt seem to be any food shortage that I could see.

      Although I didnt see it first hand, the health care is legendary.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by operagost ( 62405 )

        It's funny; everyone says their health care is legendary, but no one has actually seen it. Oh yes, some foreigners have seen the facilities made available to them-- but these aren't the ones used by Cuban citizens.

        If Cuban health care is so great, why do humanitarian organizations and relatives have to send in medicines from the USA all the time?

        • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Monday January 21, 2013 @11:29AM (#42647205) Homepage

          My mother made several trips there in the 1990's, spending most of her time well outside of Havana, in private homes, and was not surrounded by government minders or anything like that.

          There was a significant crisis after the collapse of the USSR, because before 1989 the Cuban economy had relied on trading sugar to the USSR in exchange for almost everything else including food. There were some food shortages - nothing like, say, Ethiopia's famines, but people were sometimes going hungry. The Cuban government responded to this by converting more of their farming towards food and loosening the restrictions on private sales of food (prior to that, the only legal way to get food was to buy it from the government-run stores). It still hasn't fully recovered, but it's definitely gotten better in the food department. Raul Castro is also significantly more pragmatic about such things than Fidel Castro was - Fidel was focused on pure ideological communism, Raul seems fine with limited market economies so long as nobody is getting overly rich or poor.

          Health care was definitely readily available and quite innovative. Their model starts with the neighborhood doctor, who is not only the primary care physician but also acts as a public health advocate for residents. Doctors also were growing herb gardens and using them for natural remedies when the pills weren't available (e.g. camomile instead of sleeping pills). On the flip side, when pills were available, she noticed that people would frequently take very large doses, far more than an American would, all at once. Because of the difficulty in treating illness, Cuban medicine has always been focused on preventative care, and it seems to mostly work. The people she encountered were generally of sound health.

          And as a sibling poster points out, your average Haitian or Dominican would see Cuba as a paradise by comparison. You would probably also be a lot happier living in Cuba than living in the worst part of Detroit.

          • That doesn't sound like "legendary health care" to me, which is my point. Their system is acceptable, but I'm tired of elitist movie stars going there, being shown the best facilities reserved for foreigners and party members, and coming back to push for more health care legislation.
            • Here's where the "legendary" part comes in (data from the World Health Organization):

              Life expectancy in the US - 77.7 years
              Life expectancy in Cuba - 77.4 years

              US annual health care cost per capita - $7,164
              Cuba annual health care cost per capita - $495

              That's the reason people are paying attention to the Cuban model - they're getting good results on a shoestring budget.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by PhilJC ( 928205 )
          Having spent three weeks in Cuba, one week in a 5* hotel for my brothers’ wedding and the other two weeks trekking round the island on my own I thought I'd add some comments from my experiences there:

          Yes it is a poor country but as far as quality of life goes I have to say I’ve seen a lot worse (India, Thailand, even rural Mexico to name but a few... Don’t even get me started on Africa). The people I met were friendly and largely happy with what they had.. I say largely because I did
        • It must be really hard form someone from a first world country, who has to stump up for private medical insurance, to believe that a third-world country, who offers medical services for free, has better healthcare.

          Yet all the statistics and all the first hand reports show that it does.

          If Cuban health care is so great, why do humanitarian organizations and relatives have to send in medicines from the USA all the time?

          Cuba BUYS it's medicines from the USA. They received aid after the odd hurricane, but equally they give aid to other countries that have been hit by humanitarian disasters - they were the first to aid Haiti for example. And of

          • by cusco ( 717999 )
            I think the word is 'arrogant', rather than 'proud'. If we were proud of our health care system we would have sent 1500 doctors ourselves, as well as food, water, medical supplies, fuel, equipment and engineers. Instead the National Guard formed a cordon around New Orleans and kept out supplies that were were not routed through Halliburton first. A friend's husband drove down a tanker of diesel fuel he was going to donate to one of the hospitals to keep their generators going, but was turned back. He wa
            • The same thing happened in New Jersey and New York after Sandy. This time, FEMA joined with the unions. Many people were turned away because they weren't union and wouldn't pay union dues just to work for a few weeks [].
              • by cusco ( 717999 )
                Damn, how the unions have changed. Used to be they were the only groups that you could consistently rely on to be on the side of the little guy. Too many MBAs in charge now.
      • Although I didnt see it first hand, the health care is legendary.

        One of the reasons for this is that Cuba has for years told everybody how "great" their health care is. It's just human nature that if you keep telling everyone who will listen over and over again that you are really good at something, they will eventually believe it. I'm sure that Cuban doctors do get good quality training, but I don't read about them being in the forefront of any new techniques and I do know that the US embargo has a big impact on their medical supplies. I think they do have competent

        • So you don't believe the statistics that their life expectancy [] exceeds ours? Because I think that's a pretty good bottom-line measure. (Although our embargo against allowing Hardee's to operate there must help quite a bit too).
          • Life expectancy is not really a good marker for health or well-being of different populations. This is especially true with cultural differences as large as there are between the US and Cuba. One population will always have factors that can't be accounted for by the other. For instance, deaths from traveling more miles (accidents) or recreational activities, drug abuse and so one can greatly skew the life expectancy of one place and has little to do with health or the quality of care.

        • by cusco ( 717999 )
          Cuba **EXPORTS** doctors. A neighbor's daughter in Peru studied medicine in Cuba because all her parents had to do was to scrape up plane fare and her hosing, food and studies were free. For her end of the bargain she committed to work a certain number of years (five, I think) in a poor area in her home country where there was little or no existing health care. For that matter, YOUR kids could do the same, except the AMA refuses to accept accreditation from Cuba. (They will accept accreditation from the
      • I went to a resort in Cayo Coco last year. The resort was nice and modern. Took a day trip into Ciego de Avila and it was a different story. The center of the city looks fine but you go a few blocks out of the way and it goes downhill pretty fast. In general everything looked pretty run down, especially on the drive in.

        I didn't see as many 1950's cars as I thought I would. I saw plenty of small motor bikes, horses, bikes, etc. Saw newer cars at the resort but don't recall seeing many in the c

    • by vlm ( 69642 )

      The Cuban government (and some misinformed Americans) likes to blame the U.S. embargo on Cuba's woes, being poor with little hope of advancement.

      I don't think its as simple as "become a lapdog of the USA and you'll be rich". Look at their neighbor Haiti.

      Also I have long been interested in visiting Cuba, mostly because I live in a non-free country that won't allow me to visit (and whats forbidden is always really good, right?). Anyway a gross and inaccurate summary of Cuban Ag, post 1990s, is they make a hell of a lot more money exporting tobacco and citrus and cassava while spending a small amount of export money importing some rice. I mean they

      • If you really want to see a place that is screwed with nearly 100% food imports, think Vegas.

        Funny you mention Vegas, being the other Mafia controlled city besides "free" Havana.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I don't think its as simple as "become a lapdog of the USA and you'll be rich". Look at their neighbor Haiti.

        I never even remotely suggested that this was the case.

        I stated that the difficulties experienced by the nation and the people of Cuba are all brought about by the Castro regime's mismanagement. Cuba's current state has nothing to do with the U.S. Cuba can easily trade with the rest of the world, but they can barely afford to do so because of Castro mismanagement and failed ideology.

        Cuba could be a highly prosperous and successful nation without ever dealing with the U.S., but that scenario would require ex

        • You might want to educate yourself on the real reasons for the differences between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. None of which has anything to say about Cuba.

,8599,1953959,00.html []

        • by gerddie ( 173963 )

          Cuba's current state has nothing to do with the U.S.

          Well, just look at a map, and one can clearly see that a cable to Florida would have made a lot more sense than the cable to Venezuela. There is. in fact, an undersea cable running like 20km off-shore off the northern Cuban cost, but because of the embargo, Cuba was not allowed to connect to it. Hence until now, at least the state of the Cuban Internet connection had a lot to do with the embargo. And Internet connection nowadays means business.

    • The Cuban government (and some misinformed Americans) likes to blame the U.S. embargo on Cuba's woes, being poor with little hope of advancement. But, the reality is that ALL of Cuba's woes are the failure of the Cuban government.

      The stupid, it hurts. Ask anyone from any country that's been under an economic boycott or embargo about it's effects on the economy and the goods available. Palestinians who can't even get wheelchairs in Gaza, parents who lost kids in Iraq due to the lack of medicine, which is n

    • by Xarvh ( 1244438 )

      And yet their healthcare is still better than the one in the US...
      Go figure.

  • Interesting concept. Or maybe it's just a subsea cable.
  • by Alioth ( 221270 ) <no@spam> on Monday January 21, 2013 @10:19AM (#42646509) Journal

    Apropos of nothing, but I always find it a bit ironic that supposedly free US citizens are barred by their own government from travelling to Cuba and can get into a lot of trouble for doing so.

    • by Nexus7 ( 2919 )

      Especially when they can visit North Korea/Missile-Mart (Eric Schmidt and Bill Richardson).

  • Venezuela (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Gocho ( 16619 ) on Monday January 21, 2013 @11:41AM (#42647303)

    To all of you who think Cuba is "modernizing" on its own, I remind you that Venezuela is sending over 100,000 barrels of oil on a daily basis which the Castros sell to other countries at current market prices. Venezuela became, for Cuba, what the USSR used to be. This is why many venezuelans think that their (our) country is being controlled politically by the Castros in Chavez' absence so that Cuba never loses that lifeline that, if it were to be gone tomorrow, it will send their country to another "periodo especial"

    • by Uberbah ( 647458 )

      This is why many venezuelans think that their (our) country is being controlled politically by the Castros in Chavez

      Right, in the same way the United States is "controlled" by miniscule foreign aid donations that make up a percentage of a fraction of a sliver of it's GDP. You know.....paranoid right wing Alex Jones bullshit.

    • It's not a gift. It's not aid. It's called trade.

      In return for Venezuelan oil, Cuba is sending approximately 30,000 to 50,000 technical personnel to Venezuela, including physicians, sport coaches, teachers, and arts instructors who offer social services, often in poverty-stricken regions. Under the programme Convenio de AtenciÃn a Pacientes implemented in 2000, Venezuela send patients and their relatives for medical treatment in Cuba where the Government of Venezuela pays the transportation costs, and Cuba bears all other expenses.[6]
      In April 2005, the two countries signed an agreement to increase the number of healthcare workers in Venezuela to 30,000 and initiated health programs which included establishment of 1,000 free medical centers, training of 50,000 medical personnel, and surgical treatment for approximately 100,000 Venezuelans in Cuba. Cuba also offered to train an additional 40,000 Venezuelan physicians. Meanwhile the oil shipment to Cuba is increased to 90,000 barrels (14,000 m3) per day.[17] In 2005 alone, 50,000 Venezuelans went to Cuba for free eye treatment.[5] []â"Venezuela_relations

      Chavez himself is being treated in Cuba for his Cancer, just as so many other Venezuelans are.

    • by cusco ( 717999 )
      I'd like to see the source for the supposed reselling. If you say 'Univision' you'll get laughed off the Internet.
  • Cue the music. []

    [pause for music to begin]
    OK, here we go.

    The wrecks dissolve above us; their dust drops down from afar---
    Down to the dark, to the utter dark, where the blind white sea-snakes are.
    There is no sound, no echo of sound, in the deserts of the deep,
    Or the great grey level plains of ooze where the shell-burred cables creep.

    Here in the womb of the world---here on the tie-ribs of earth
    Words, and the words of men, flicker and flutter and beat---

Maybe you can't buy happiness, but these days you can certainly charge it.