Friday, May 25, 2012

Limited pilot testing of the ALBA-1 cable?

Muchas Gracias sent us a link to an article in which Jorge Arreaza, Venezuelan minister of Science and Technology says the cable is operational, but not saying what it was being used for (http://www.diariodecuba.com/cuba/11252-venezuela-asegura-que-el-cable-de-internet-esta-absolutamente-operativo).

I have also heard an unconfirmed report that the cable is operational and being used in some Venezuelan government offices to access databases they have stored in Cuba. That could be a pilot test for the ALBA-1 link.

That would be consistent with the Renesys data we just posted (http://laredcubana.blogspot.com/2012/05/hard-data-on-idle-alba-1-undersea-cable.html), but it would not be Internet connectivity.

Venezuela storing their data in Cuba reminds me of the International Center for Scientific and Technical Information in Moscow (http://www.icsti.su/portal/eng/index.php). During the pre-Internet days, they provided centralized database access for all of the communist nations. Today they are on the Internet, serving a different group of nations.

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Update 7/17/2013

I just came across this 2011 article may have been the source of the rumor that early tests of the undersea cable were in support of database applications Cuba runs for the Venezuelan government. The article asserts that Albet Engineering and Systems, Inc. runs the citizen ID application for the government of Venezuela, raising concern of election fraud and other secret manipulation.

It also draws attention to the link between Albet and the University of Information Sciences (UCI). Albet owns the commercial rights to all products and services offered by the UCI -- they seem to be the marketing arm for the applications that UCI students and faculty develop. (We discussed UCI in some detail in a 2011 report. They emphasize practical work on projects -- making students a source of low-cost labor for Albet).

I just found this old article -- has there been more on this story or other Albet/UCI projects?