Nearshore Americas

Cuba’s lackluster Internet Infrastructure Hindering Technological Growth

Ever since the Barack Obama administration eased the U.S. embargo on Cuba, an increasing number of Cubans are getting access to internet, but local internet firms are still struggling to get on their feet, with the communist government continuing to deny easy access to the web.

The island’s young online retailer Cubazon, a Cuban version of global retailing giant Amazon, is counting on Cuban diaspora to remain afloat.

That’s because good “internet infrastructure doesn’t exist for domestic buyers to sustain the market,” according to the BBC, which also interviewed Nearshore Americas’ Managing Editor Kirk Laughlin for the article.

State-run carrier Etecsa is setting up Wi-fi hotspots and reducing telecom prices, but a large majority of Cubans have remained unable to access the web freely and easily, with service at the hotspots very slow.

In addition, the government restricts access to all websites. To kick-start technological development and create jobs for its youths, Cuba needs to do more.

“There is such an opportunity to leapfrog ahead and really light up the island with really robust broadband. That is just not happening,” Laughlin said in the BBC interview.

Laughlin, who has deep knowledge of global services market in the Western Hemisphere, said companies are waiting for the government to improve the broadband infrastructure so they can utilize the island’s ‘high number of software professionals’ and the youths who have the ingenuity and creativity to excel in life.

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Authorities are currently only giving internet preference to public places, such as schools, government offices and research centers, to access the internet.

“It’s still a long way to go to get into the league that Cuba has great qualifications to participate in,” Laughlin said, expressing concern at the slow pace of broadband penetration on the island.

Narayan Ammachchi

News Editor for Nearshore Americas, Narayan Ammachchi is a career journalist with a decade of experience in politics and international business. He works out of his base in the Indian Silicon City of Bangalore.

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