After finishing its test phase on June 23, 2011, the recently installed Venezuelan-Cuban undersea cable will begin operating in July.
According to Venezuelan Minister of Science and Technology Ricardo Menéndez, the ALBA-1 cable, which is being laid by French company Alcatel-Lucent, will increase Cuba’s connectivity for Internet and telephone service by 3,000 percent. The US$72 million fiber-optic cable connects Cuba to the Internet via Venezuela and Jamaica. An extension is planned to eventually reach Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
This is the first high-speed broadband cable for Cuba, which has been shunned by United States-based undersea cable operators, and has had to rely on satellite connections to link up to the World Wide Web. According to the United Nations, Cuba is the least cell-telephone and Internet-connected country in the Western Hemisphere, although this situation seems to be changing at the speed of . . . well, fiber-optic connections.
For full articles, see http://www.dominicantoday.com/dr/technology/2011/6/11/39859/Venezuela-Cuba-undersea-cable-to-start-operating-in-July and http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2011/02/09/venezuela-cuba-underwater-fiber-optic-cable-reaches-cuba/
Also see related post on Venezuela-Cuba relations at http://www.cubaheadlines.com/2011/06/11/31799/venezuela%E2%80%99s_chavez_and_senior_officials_in_cuba_for_talks.html