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.


  1. My only fear is that the end of the mandate of Hugo Chavez also could represent a step backwards in the advent of the Internet in Cuba.

  2. Despite all the skepticism we will all have around these news, they are great news. It is bad news however the secret-ism of the Cuban government, it confuses me why they did not take the opportunity to announce this them-selves. Something smells fishy about it.
    Thanks Larry for keeping us up to date on this.

    1. I understand your skepticism. The seeming one-way connection is a bit fishy too. I hope it is a mis-configuration error and they get the speed up soon. I also hope there is some domestic infrastructure plan to allow them to actually use the cable.

  3. Guys, I think this is de Cuban government testing de cable in order to use it for his own interest, not public interest... we should press in some way in the big media here in US to bring the topic UP... If you let me Larry, I can move some pieces down here in Florida and the we can move forward about this... But yes, very interesting your coverage Larry. Thanks!

  4. Sure -- spread the word -- that way we might learn more.

  5. FWIW, following a traceroute from a Movistar (Telefónica) residential connection in Madrid to Cuba.

    $ traceroute
    traceroute to (, 30 hops max, 60 byte packets
    1 router ( 0.436 ms 0.580 ms 0.564 ms
    2 ( 2.288 ms 2.517 ms 2.504 ms
    3 ( 3.208 ms 3.196 ms 3.310 ms
    4 ( 3.865 ms 3.998 ms 4.002 ms
    5 ( 3.937 ms 4.177 ms 4.159 ms
    6 ( 106.084 ms ( 98.316 ms ( 164.070 ms
    7 ( 68.014 ms ( 98.563 ms 98.506 ms
    8 ( 105.630 ms 105.621 ms 105.601 ms
    9 ( 146.550 ms 146.560 ms 128.404 ms
    10 ( 139.876 ms ( 171.672 ms ( 170.110 ms
    11 ( 163.914 ms 163.739 ms 188.880 ms
    12 ( 250.961 ms ( 451.778 ms ( 249.480 ms
    13 ( 472.363 ms 461.685 ms ( 251.177 ms
    14 ( 452.330 ms ( 453.137 ms ( 449.980 ms
    15 ( 456.104 ms * *
    16 * * *
    17 * * *
    18 * * *
    19 ( 471.172 ms 471.231 ms *
    20 ( 471.156 ms * *
    21 ( 455.848 ms 455.878 ms 455.687 ms

    Sat link seems to be between hops 11 and 13. Before those, everything is * I don't remember so many telefonica-wholesale hops in past tracerouters.


  6. Great news, congratulations for Internet users in Cuba. I hope they fix whatever misconfiguration is forcing them to asymmetrically route packets.

    Any news on whether they also have IPv6 peering on the cable ?


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