Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cuban Government acknowledges test of the ALBA-1 cable

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A short Granma article confirms that the ALBA-1 cable is being tested.

The article says the cable was operational last August and has been used for traffic quality testing on the Internet since January 10.

The article concludes with a disclaimer saying that when testing is complete there will not be automatic improvement of access since they must make investments in the domestic telecommunications infrastructure, which will require increased foreign exchange resources. The plan is to gradually increase socially useful use of the link.

We have been tracking the progress of the cable for some time, and long ago pointed out that without major domestic infrastructure investment, the cable would be a strong link in a very weak chain. The Cuban, Venezuelan and Chinese policy makers and technicians working on this project had to be aware of this imbalance.

I have received informal reports of fiber being laid in certain parts of Havana, but tremendous investment would be needed to deliver anything like modern Internet connectivity to a broad segment of the population. It is hard to imagine that happening without major changes in government policy and institutions.