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Cuba confirms Alba-1 fiber hook-up to Venezuela, internet remains on lockdown

Zach Honig

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.

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