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Communications Networking United States

The Telecommunications Ball Is Now In Cuba's Court 59

lpress writes: The FCC has dropped Cuba from its exclusion list (PDF), so there are now no restrictions on U.S. telecom company dealings with ETECSA, the Cuban government telecommunication monopoly, or any other Cuban organization. Last week the U.S. sent its second high-level telecommunication delegation to Cuba. The delegates were FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and other government officials plus representatives of Cisco, Comcast, and Ericsson. Some of the news: there are at least 6 proposals for an undersea cable between Havana and Florida; Cisco has proposed a Network Academy at Cuba's leading computer science university (Chinese infrastructure dominates today); 4G mobile connectivity was discussed and Google was conspicuously absent. The time for Cuba to act is now — while President Obama is still in office.
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The Telecommunications Ball Is Now In Cuba's Court

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  • by blueshift_1 ( 3692407 ) on Tuesday January 26, 2016 @04:23PM (#51376449)
    I guess trump will build a Great Physical Wall on the boarder of Mexico and a Great Firewall on the boarder of Cuba. Who knew he could make the US look so much like China.
    • I guess trump will build a Great Physical Wall on the boarder of Mexico and a Great Firewall on the boarder of Cuba. Who knew he could make the US look so much like China.

      I"m not great Trump fan, but as to this point, I'd not heard him say anything against the opening up of the US and easing of restrictions to Cuba.

  • by mentil ( 1748130 ) on Tuesday January 26, 2016 @04:40PM (#51376615)

    plus representatives of Cisco, Comcast [...]
    there are at least 6 proposals for an undersea cable between Havana and Florida

    The downside is that the undersea cable will have a 3Mbps uplink and cap the island nation at 250GB/month.
    It's ok, Republicans don't think they'd need more than that. []

    • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 ) on Tuesday January 26, 2016 @04:46PM (#51376675)
      My concern is that if we send Comcast over to Cuba they might see it as a threat or declaration of war and ask Russia to station nukes on Cuba again. And I wouldn't blame them. I think giving them Comcast defeats the whole purpose of trying to thaw relations with them.
      • I think Comcast is more like the Zika Virus; the government of Cuba will warn its citizens against downloading anything for the next two years...
    • And good luck to Cuba if they want to get out of their contract with Comcast!
    • Perhaps Comcast will use their India support staff to start a new Cold War. As one sage said, "sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice."
  • I can't afford American health care any more.

    • Actually, now that you mention it, health tourism would be a phenomenal growth industry for Cuba. []
    • I was reading a report the other day that texans are regularly traveling to mexico for dental work, as it is 20-25% the cost of going to an american dentist.

      Cuba has good doctors.

      • by KGIII ( 973947 )

        Hmm... That's sort of true. Cuba has fine doctors for what they are. What they lack is some more modern training, imaging equipment, surgical equipment, and things of that nature. They're probably about twenty years behind but fine for being twenty years behind. How do I know? Well, I've done more than watch Moore's documentary (which was a bit misleading). I've actually been to Cuba and you can walk in and visit a health clinic or hospital. It's not like you're banned from walking in to them.

        While I am not

  • by indi0144 ( 1264518 ) on Tuesday January 26, 2016 @04:49PM (#51376713) Journal
    Why, because they have Venezuela as a fallback for all its communications and while Venezuela is very close to get in the club of failed countries, they still can provide the little connectivity that Cuba is interested to provide to its citizens, properly filtered and controlled as they want. You would say that is Cubans what run Venezuela now, because I'm certain that the bus driver they have now as president can't fuck so throughly a country like he has done by himself.

    Cubans can take a look at Puerto Rico and say DO NOT WANT and nobody would blame them really. Sometimes is better to don't know better.
  • by twasserman ( 878174 ) on Tuesday January 26, 2016 @05:02PM (#51376825)
    I'm glad to see another piece of the ridiculously outdated Cuban trade restrictions disappear; I'm hoping that the rest of the 57-year embargo goes away soon.

    As for the telecom issue, there are two key issues for the Cubans. The first is that there is very limited bandwidth for Internet access. Cuba just doesn't have enough high-sped satellite or undersea connections to allow video streaming and other high-bandwidth uses. Instead, someone will burn DVDs with movies and other content, then share them with others. It's like the old sneaker-net. So ETECSA (or its successor) will have to address the bandwidth issue before Cuba can have better Internet access. The proposal for the cable to Florida seems like a good start.

    The second issue is limited public access to the Internet. If you are at the UCI (Computer science university), it's easy to get on the Internet from their machines, which run Nova, a UCI-developed Linux distro. Home computers with network access are extremely rare, so most people wanting to get onto the Internet must go to an ETECSA-run center and pay for access. The rate is about $2 US/hour, payable only in "hard" currency CUCs, extremely high in a country where average monthly salary is about $25. Overall, the estimate is that about 3% of the Cuban population is on the Internet, mostly through ETESCA's portal.The situation isn't any better with mobile phones, where ETECSA hasn't yet reached 3G speeds and there are no data plans. More info on the ETECSA site (in Spanish) [].

    • by Alioth ( 221270 )

      Ouch. Their ADSL for 128k down is three times more expensive than my 50Mbit/s connection at home (which also has additions like static IP) according to the currency conversion at Their 8 meg home ADSL costs more monthly than the median monthly household salary in my rich, Western nation - let alone Cuba.

  • Cuba is still a very oppressive place to live. Why are we rewarding that behavior?

    • Exactly. We should treat them like China.

    • Cuba is still a very oppressive place to live. Why are we rewarding that behavior?

      While the sanctions were successful in keeping Cuba weak and underdeveloped, with the USSR long gone Communism and Cuba are no longer credible threats. The Cuban regime has been largely successful at squashing decent and there is no credible opposition we could back instead. The continuation of the Collective-punishment in the form of trade sanctions are really nothing more than feel good measures when it comes to easing oppression. Sanctions are not successful at toppling or compelling a repressive regime

The moon may be smaller than Earth, but it's further away.