A ‘freer and more open Cuba?’

cuba

“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,” says the.the Renesys Blog.

Angry tapir writes  In Slashdot,
“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.”The first submarine cable connecting Cuba to the global internet by way of Venezuela landed on Siboney beach, Santiago de Cuba,  says Renesys, continuing:

“In the two years since, the fate of the cable has been a mystery for Cuba observers ,

“In the past week, our global monitoring system has picked up indications that this cable has finally been activated,  “although in a rather curious way.”

It explains, “In 2007, state-owned telecommunications companies from Cuba and Venezuela joined forces to build a submarine cable between the two Caribbean nations, linking Cuba directly to the global Internet and allowing it to end its reliance on satellite-based Internet services. At least that was the hope.

The cable was named the “Alternativa Bolivariana para los Pueblos de nuestra América or ALBA-1 for short.

“Originally planned to be completed in 2009, the project hit delay after delay, until construction was finally completed in early 2011 says the blog, continuing.

“However, despite the announcement of its completion, Cuba’s Internet has still limped along on high-latency satellite service via three different Internet service providers. That is, until last Monday when we noticed that Spanish telecom giant Telefonica began service to Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba S.A. (ETECSA), the state telecom of Cuba.

“To underscore the significance of this development, we look back at how ETECSA obtained Internet service over the past 6 years.

Now, “We believe it is likely that Telefonica’s service to ETECSA is, either by design or misconfiguration, using its new cable asymmetrically (i.e., for traffic in only one direction), similar to the situation we observed in Lebanon in 2011.

“In such a configuration, ETECSA enjoys greater bandwidth and lower latencies (along the submarine cable) when receiving Internet traffic but continues to use satellite services for sending traffic. While the activation of the ALBA-1 cable may be a good first step to providing ETECSA a better link to the Internet, the lack of widespread public access to Internet service throughout the island will likely continue.

“On the same day last week that we saw the first evidence of the ALBA-1 cable, Cuba eliminated the requirement of an exit visa for its people to travel outside the country. Could these two developments be part of a greater trend towards a freer and more open Cuba?”

Jon Newton — myblogdammit

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