Google has reportedly signed a deal with Cuban telecom monopoly ETECSA to improve the communist dictatorship’s Internet connectivity.
Yahoo news reports that tech giant Google has signed a deal with the Cuban telecom monopoly ETECSA in an effort to improve the island’s Internet connectivity. The deal will see an improvement to the traffic exchange between Google and the ETECSA’s networks and will overall improve internet infrastructure in the communist country.
Cuba has sought to improve its poor Internet connectivity in recent years. Cybercafes, Wi-Fi hotspots and mobile internet connections have become increasingly common across the country but users continue to complain of poor connectivity and high costs. The new Google and ETECSA partnership would see a direct “peer” network created between the Cuban and Google networks which would enable faster access to content hosted on Google servers for Cuban users.
Google and the ETECSA said in a joint press release: “The implementation of this internet traffic exchange service is part of the strategy of ETECSA for the development and computerization of the country.” The technical details of the deal were not discussed at length but it was stated that the peering connection would be implemented “when technical conditions allow it.”
Although Google has invested a significant amount of time in growing their Cuban market, analysts believe it will take some time before the U.S.-based company gains the trust of the Cuban government. President Trump has rolled back deals made by the Obama government and Cuba, tightening a trade embargo between the U.S. and Cuba but a loophole created by Obama for U.S. telecommunication companies allows Google to provide services to the communist country in attempts to further open up the country to the rest of the world.
“The signing of this memorandum evidences that the interest of U.S companies in developing businesses with ETECSA remains,” the Google, ETESCA press release stated. Former Google Chief Executive and Clinton advisor Eric Schmidt met Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel twice last year in both Havana and in Google’s offices in New York. Google has also been attempting to expand into another Communist country in China where the company is reportedly developing a state-censored search engine named Project Dragonfly.