Google to provide faster internet in Cuba

Monday, December 12, 2016

Technology giant Google and Cuba's state-run telco Etecsa are set to sign an agreement in order to improve internet access on the island.

The agreement will give Cuba access to content delivery network infrastructure Google Global Cache, which stores content from popular and widely-used products such as Gmail and YouTube.

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Since Cuba and the US began improving diplomatic relations, Etecsa has signed direct connection agreements for voice services with US telcos IDT Domestic Telecom, Sprint, Verizon and most recently with AT&T.

US President Barak Obama mentioned a possible technological agreement between Cuba and Google during his visit to the Caribbean country in March. That same month Google opened its first technology center in Havana in the studio of plastic artist Alexis Leyva. The center offers free access to Google's latest products and internet at higher speeds than those offered on the rest of the island.

Domestic internet connections remain illegal for Cubans, forcing them to use public wi-fi spots that run at slow speeds. Nonetheless, Etecsa has already embarked on a domestic internet pilot program with Chinese tech company Huawei.

The agreement with Google will be signed less than a week after Cuba gave three US cruise companies permission to begin sailing to the island next year. Other deals, including one with GE, are in the works, according to several news outlets