Two Years After It Was Built, Cuban Internet Cable Shows Signs of Life

The fiber-optics cable was completed in 2011, but is only now being used, partially

Two years ago, Cuba got a high-speed underwater fiber-optic cable that would provide it with much needed bandwidth for data traffic. Cuba has been relying on slow and expensive satellite connections for internet up till now, but the cable promised much greater speeds at much better prices.

But the cable laid dormant for two years and is only now showing some signs of life. Traffic monitoring company Renesys has seen signs that the cable is being used for the first time, albeit only for incoming connections.

The cable is a joint-venture between Cuba and Venezuela, the cable itself starts from Caracas, Venezuela and links Cuba and Jamaica to South America and the global internet.

"We noticed that Spanish telecom giant Telefonica began service to Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba S.A. (ETECSA), the state telecom of Cuba," Renesys wrote on its blog.

The tell-tale sign of the cable coming to life is the lower latency that's being observed. Satellite connections have high latency, so the number Renesys saw meant that the cable was being used. However, the latency is still rather high, ten times higher than it would be expected for a fiber-optics cable, indicating that some traffic is still being directed to the satellite connections.

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