by Assad Shoman
Havana, (Prensa Latina) The arrival in Cuba of the submarine fiber-optic cable next month will increase exponentially the country’s international connections. Conditions, however, will not be enough yet to guarantee mass access to Internet.
Installing connectivity cannot be solved overnight because it is very costly and other investments are required, said first deputy-minister of Informatics and Communications Ramón Linares to reporters recently.
In this situation, he added, our priority is giving continuity to creating collective pools of access to Internet, along with strengthening connections in the country’s scientific research, educational and health centers.
This cable linking Cuba with Jamaica and Venezuela, whose laying is being done by the Franco-Chinese Alcatel Shanghai Bell company, will start late this month, after suitable studies in international and jurisdictional waters of the three countries are done.
Everyone having a phone is entitled, by policy, to a connection, asserted Linares, for whom the low level of telephone density is still a material hindrance to the installation of Internet.
In the opinion of Boris Moreno, vice minister of MIC, the arrival of the cable would put the Caribbean country in better conditions regarding international connectivity, but it does not mean having Internet in every home by August.
There are technical and financial conditions to be met before supplying those services, he added.
Countries with fiber-optic availability could broadcast, in real time, educational and cultural programs, medical consultations and teleconferences to support collaboration in the area.
At a cost of 70 million U.S. dollars and spanning 1, 600 kilometers, the cable will permit Cuba to overcome the obstacles imposed by the U.S. blockade, such as being able to join the Cancun-Miami line, whose passage is just 32 kilometers away from Havana’s coast.
The laying, beginning in La Guaira, near Maiquetía’s International airport, Venezuela, will reach Siboney beach, Santiago de Cuba, before continuing later for Ocho Ríos in Jamaica.
Exploration of the sea bottoms was done from the Ridley Thomas ship, so that the points of tectonic failures, the type of cable, its route and safety were defined.
After this process, it was decided that in areas such as the Bartlett hole, with depths of some six thousand meters, the cable should bear a special lining with steel springs, which provide higher resistance to pressure and ocean currents.
This lining will also protect the cable from being attacked by animals, which, attracted by electromagnetic fields, have caused serious damage in other latitudes.
The connection will be useful for 25 years and the investment will be recovered by suitable installments, asserted recently Waldo Reboredo, vice-chairman of Gran Caribe Telecommunications, the Cuban-Venezuelan enterprise that will run it technically and commercially.
Once in operation, the underwater cable, with its 640-gigabyte outing, will allow Havana to multiply by three thousand the current speed for transmitting data, images and voice, Reboredo stressed.
Putting the cable into operation does not mean Cuba halting Internet service by satellite, the only choice up to now permitted by the White House’s anti-Cuban politics.
Nevertheless, it will mean lowering by 25 percent the costs of satellite operations, which allow, nowadays, a 209-megabyte-per-second- output speed and 379-megabyte-per-second-input speed.
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