Life, Culture and Travels from the perspective of a Cuban
Fiber-Optic Cable (FOC)

Every non-Cuban friend thinks that people in Cuba are already enjoying the recently activated fiber-optic cable, which finally connects Cuba to the fast internet world. I wish it was as easy as connecting a magical cable in order to bring enough speed to our relatives and friends on the island, at least enough speed to have a Skype video call or to watch YouTube without pain. The reality is that Cuba needs more than that.

There is no such thing as an Internet company in Cuba providing services to individuals, only government- owned institutions with limited access to internet. The truth is that no common Cuban has easy or normal access to the internet so at this point, even thinking of the speed issue is a luxury.

Yesterday, my mother was celebrating as a big event, with mental fireworks and all, a new and illegal email connection that someone installed for her for the price of $15.00 US dollars a month. She bought an external modem for $30 dollars (the demand of modems is high in Cuba) and now she is hooked to some email address that seems to be coming from Yahoo.

For others who manage to get an internet connection, also illegal, the price is around $50 dollars per month. These connections tend to be extremely slow and unreliable. The person providing  (selling you, really) with the access to internet has access to the server at his workplace and profits from it.

Connected or not, we will not be seeing the FOC benefit for a while. To me, it is like buying adult running shoes for a baby who does not know how to walk yet. At the moment, I think the FOC is just another Cuban tale to keep us excited.

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