Silicon Valley giant Google Inc has signed a deal with Cuba, raising hopes of speeding up internet connectivity on the island by linking its undersea fibre optic cables with the United States’.
Internet service in Cuba is very slow, because it is powered by a single submarine cable running under the Caribbean to Venezuela that has been unable to support its relatively small but growing number of internet users.
Under the deal signed with state-run telecom firm Etecsa, engineers from Google will explore ways of connecting the network with other cables. Such an action will speed up internet service, making it easier for Cubans to browse Google sites such as YouTube and Google Maps etcs.
The communist government opened mobile internet for its citizens only late last year. However, nearly two million people have already signed up to 3G service, according to Associated Press.
However, most Cubans are dependent on internet cafes or outdoor wifi hotspots to browse the web. The search engine giant has been trying to improve internet service on the island ever since the previous Barack Obama administration started easing tensions with Cuba.
Google Inc is in fact 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.
But its deal may be criticised in Washington, because President Donald Trump is talking of getting tough on Cuba, accusing the communist government of supporting Venezuelan socialist government led by Nicolas Maduro.