Cuba reaches upload Internet connectivity milestone with activation of submarine cable


The first submarine cable connecting Cuba to the Internet has finally been activated, according to a blog from Internet intelligence company Renesys, based in Manchester, NH. The cable, which runs from Venezuela, was installed two years ago but only recently went operational after a series of delays stretching back to 2009.

Connectivity to the Internet via the cable is significant for Cuba, which had "limped along" using high-latency satellite service provided by three different Internet service providers, the blog states. Nevertheless, Renesys says latencies to Cuba are still quite high, although an improvement over historic levels. 

"The fact that the latencies to Cuba from many locations around the world have dropped below 480ms means that the new Telefonica service cannot be entirely via satellite," says the blog. "However, if it were solely via submarine cables, we would expect latencies from many nearby countries to be less than 50ms."

Consequently, Renesys concludes that this phenomenon is either by design or misconfiguration, resulting in Cuba using its new cable asymmetrically (i.e., for traffic in only one direction). In this network topology, Cuba achieves greater bandwidth and lower latencies (along the submarine cable) when receiving Internet traffic but continues to use satellite services for sending traffic. 

The Renesys blog notes that on the same day that the company observed the first evidence of the cable the Cuban government eliminated the exit visa requirement for Cubans to travel outside the country. "Could these two developments be part of a greater trend towards a freer and more open Cuba?," asks the blog.

For more:
- read the Renesys blog post

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