Sunday, January 20, 2013

First traffic on the ALBA-1 cable

Doug Madory, who has been keeping us up to date on traffic (or the or lack of it) on the ALBA-1 submarine cable between Venezuela and Cuba pointed me to a new blog post this morning, in which he reports limited cable traffic.

For the past six years, three satellite providers, Tata, NewCom and Intelsat have served Cuba. But, as you see in the above graph (click to enlarge), Telefonica traffic (dark grey) began last week.

Madory also monitored the round trip time to send data packets from Guadalajara, Mexico, Dallas, Texas and Sao Paulo and Joao Pessoa, Brazil to Cuba. He noted a significant speed up on all four routes at the same time on January 14th, indicating that some Telefonica traffic is being carried over the cable. But, since the average time remains quite high, Madory concludes 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.
He goes on to speculate that the first evidence of ALBA-1 traffic and the elimination of exit visas might be part of a greater trend towards a freer and more open Cuba.