Connecting Cuba

TeleCuba, a Miami-based communications firm, was just granted a permit by the Treasury Department to lay a fiber-optic cable between Key West and Havana. They'll be investing about $18 million (a pittance!) to tie the last unconnected country in the Western Hemisphere into the global grid.

TeleCubaJust a few weeks ago, President Obama's new policy easing restrictions on family travel, remittances, and telecommunications took effect. (A policy, I might add, that NDN had more than a little to do with shaping) It's good to see it's having an impact already.  And it's happening just in time-- Hugo Chavez recently pledged to lay his own fiber cable from Venezuela to Cuba-- albeit a cable eight times as long, delivered at four times the cost.

I've written before about the democratizing power of connectivity and information. We'll see how this plays out, but I have a hunch that broadband internet, cheap international phone calls, and cable TV will do more to democratize Cuba in six months than fifty years of embargo.

Governor Bill Richardson was at our offices last week talking about U.S.-Cuba relations.  Watch the video of his talk here.  Lastly, a quip I enjoyed from the AP:

The capacity of the cable will be 8 to 10 terabits per second, enough for more than 160 million simultaneous phone calls. The last operational copper cable from Florida to Cuba could carry 144 phone calls at the same time.