TeleCuba Communications Inc. said it had authorization from the U.S. government to move ahead with the project and service would start in 2011.
The U.S. Treasury Department, however, has not confirmed that it granted the firm a license to build the cable, which will run from Key West, Florida, to Havana, Cuba.
The approximately 177-kilometer (110-mile) cable will cost about $18 million, TeleCuba Communications president and CEO Luis Coello said.
“The cable will be the first of its kind,” said Virginia Hoffman of Great Eastern Group, head of TeleCuba’s cable system design, construction, and installation. “It will be far more than a simple commercial cable; TeleCuba has agreements in place to provide for multiple subsea science nodes along the cable’s path for use by major universities and weather management agencies for both educational and research purposes.”
TeleCuba, which has been working on the project for about 10 years, said it expected the cable to eliminate the need for satellites in communications between the United States and Cuba.
“The new cable will allow for an array of new telecommunication products and services, such as high-speed Internet and cable television, which are not feasible using current satellite communications,” TeleCuba said.
The company plans to use the route of an existing copper line installed in the 1950s between Key West and Cojimar, Cuba, located east of Havana, to lay the new fiber-optic cable.
The Miami-based company, however, has not yet received permission from the Cuban government for the project.
TeleCuba Communications Inc., which was founded in Miami in 1995 by Coello, currently has about 120,000 customers, mainly Cuban-Americans in South Florida. EFE