Cuba may only be positioned 100 or so miles from Key West, but the US embargo meant an undersea fiber link to North America hasn't been a possibility. Earlier this week, though, we began to see discussion regarding traffic passing through a connection to Venezuela, and ETECSA, a government-owned telecom provider, has now confirmed that a 994-mile cable has been operational since August, though in a limited capacity. On January 10th, ETECSA stepped up its utilization, testing the connection using "real traffic."
The $70-million Alba-1 cable, which has a reported lifespan of 25 years, was completed in February 2011, though it's not clear when, or if, citizens will see any benefit -- a statement explained that it "will not automatically mean an increase in access." That's not great news for Cubans, but at least Hugo Chavez now has the possibility of a direct link to his home country -- with a Netflix subscription and a VPN tunnel to the good ole US of A, his recovery could be a little more speedy.