On January 21, a special ship began laying an undersea fiber-optic cable between Venezuela and Cuba, a connection that will dramatically improve Cuba’s telephone and Internet services.
Cuban officials estimate the project carried out by Alcatel-Lucent SA of Paris will cost about US $70 million. Cuba is the only nation in the Western Hemisphere not linked to the outside world by optical fiber. It relies on slow, expensive satellite links because the US government bullies companies trying to do business with Cuba.
A recent proposal by TeleCuba Communications Inc—run by Cuban expatriates in the US—to lay a fiber-optic cable from Florida, US, to Cuba was held up because US regulators balked at the Cuban government’s demand that companies connecting calls to the island pay Cuba’s phone company 84 cents per minute.
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