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Cuba confirms its underwater data cable has been on since last August

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Cuba's only physical connection to the larger internet is no longer a mystery. Associated Press reports that the country's telecom, ETECSA, confirmed that it started using the cable in August for voice calls. Then, on January 10th, it began testing carrying internet traffic over it, supplementing the existing satellite network that provides internet service to Cuba. That activity was detected a few days later by Renesys, which first reported that only inbound traffic was using the cable and later said that outbound traffic seemed to be appearing as well.

Internet access in Cuba is restricted both politically and technologically: the former is a result of national policy, and Cuba has blamed the latter on difficulties stemming from the US embargo. The internet cable — which runs from Cuba to Venezuela — has been in the works for years, but this is the first time we've had hard confirmation that it's actually being used. ETECSA didn't elaborate on what this change could mean for general internet development, which remains stunted despite improvements from this cable, but it did say IT infrastructure needed to be built out to improve access.