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Google, Cuba Agree to Work Toward Enhancing Island Connectivity

Internet laggard Cuba has sought to boost web access in the last several years, including cybercafes, Wi-Fi hotspots and cellular Internet, but users still complain about their price tag, slow link and intermittent coverage.

Google and ETECSA signed a memorandum of understanding to commence the discussion of a so-called"hierarchical arrangement" that could create a free and direct link between both networks.

This would allow quicker access to material hosted on the technology giant's servers, in a state where information is closely controlled, and decrease prices for Cuba that would no more need to cover an intermediary.

"The execution of the online traffic exchange service a part of this plan of ETECSA for its growth and computerisation of the nation," Google and ETECSA stated in a joint news release, read at a news conference in Havana.

The peering will be executed"when technical requirements permit it," they stated.

The arrangement makes a joint working group of engineers to determine how to execute this.

US officials have previously advocated for linking Cuba through fibre-optic cable together with the usa only 90 miles (145 kilometers ) throughout the Florida Straits.

Cuba is now on the Internet by means of a fibre-optic cable out of leftist ally Venezuela that went live in 2013, although a lot of its internet infrastructure around the island is now Chinese. Before this week, both Cuba and Russia signed a memorandum of understanding about increasing collaboration in telecommunications.

Google has been working to expand its business in Cuba for decades but analysts say it might need to work hard to obtain the government's hope.

Nonetheless, the government has claimed a loophole created by Obama for US telecommunications companies to offer specific services to Cuba since they'd open up the nation farther.

"The signing of the memorandum evidences the attention of US firms in developing companies with ETECSA stays," that the Google, ETECSA news release .

Google setup a tiny pilot screen center in Havana and signed up a deal in 2016 allowing Internet users faster access to its branded material.

Google's efforts to enter the Cuban economy come as it confronts blowback from workers and individual rights activists over efforts to enlarge in a different Communist-run nation, China, amid worries it may comply with this country's Internet censorship and surveillance policies.

Google has said it's not committed to some policies since it investigates offering more services in China.

Whether because of the US embargo, absence of money or concerns within the free flow of data, the Internet has been mainly available to the general public in Cuba just at tourist resorts till 2013.

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