Search engine giant Google is reportedly in discussions with the government in Cuba about connecting the island to undersea fiber-optic cables.
Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt has initiated direct talks with the country’s new President Miguel Diaz-Canel, according to Associated Press.
Although just 100 miles away from the US, broadband connections are extremely slow in the country as it is heavily dependent on a cable that runs under the Caribbean to Venezuela.
Schmidt indicated that even with the economic embargo in place, US law allows connectivity and telecommunications cooperation.
Google was the first to provide Cubans with high-speed internet. Its online technology center in Havana offers a free internet service at speeds nearly 70 times faster than public Wi-Fi hotspots.
However, the Silicon Valley giant could not move beyond hotspots as the communist government did not show much interest in widening internet coverage.
With the new president taking charge, Cuba is once again thinking about providing greater internet access to all citizens.
According to Cuba’s state telecommunications company ETECSA, there are 1,651 public Internet access sites in Cuba, including 673 Wi-Fi zones.
“The benefits of the Internet to the world are extraordinary and it is important that Cubans have access to the Internet at the same level or even better than everyone else,” Google’s president told a press conference in Cuba.
This comes months after Deep Blue Cable, a St. Lucia-based subsea cable operator, proposed plans to roll out undersea cables connecting Cuba with the wider world. Deep Blue’s project is expected to be operational by the end of 2019.