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Cuba and Google Sign Internet Access Deal


Google and Cuba’s state-run telecommunications company ETECSA have signed a deal that will enable faster access to content from the tech giant.

Under the deal, Google will install servers in Cuba to improve connectivity speeds to its services, including Gmail and YouTube.

ETECSA and Google have reached their agreement in the final weeks of Barack Obama’s presidency.

It is not clear whether Donald Trump will change US policies towards Cuba.

A high-speed fibre-optic cable connecting Cuba to the global internet appears to have finally been activated

Barack Obama restored relations with Cuba earlier this year, after more than five decades of hostility between the two former Cold War rivals.

President-elect Donald Trump has made arguments both for and against improved ties with Cuba since being elected last month.

Even though most Cubans are likely to see the deal with Google as a step forward, it will do little to change the overall online accessibility on the communist island.

Cuba still has one of the lowest online connectivity rates in the world.

The majority of the population is not allowed access to the internet from home and must rely, instead, on expensive Wi-Fi points to get online.

Google said in a statement: “This deal allows Etecsa to use our technology to reduce latency by caching some of our most popular high bandwidth content like YouTube videos at a local level.”

The agreement was signed in Havana by Alphabet Inc chairman Eric Schmidt and ETECSA president Mayra Arevich Marin.