Key Issues
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"Key Internet Policy Issues" is a series of contributions from people living in countries new or relatively new to the Internet about what they consider to be key policy issues related to the deployment and use of the Internet in their country. Each text is published under the complete responsibility and with the permission of its author. These contributions were solicited by Alan McCluskey, guest editor, in preparation for a special issue of the Internet Society's magazine "OnTheInternet" entitled "Strategies for development: from thought to action" to be published in November 1997. For more information and comments on the preparation of this special edition see "Addressing Key Policy Issues".

Access to the Internet despite the embargo

Since 1961, Cuba has been under pressure because of the US embargo. As a result Cuba has been unable to obtain the most recent technology. This difficulty was partially solved by the then socialist countries, but as they have disappeared, Cuba no longer had the possibility to renew its technology. To set up the Cuban internet it was absolutely necessary to have direct access to the hardware market and the related support and service, as well as the up-dated documentation and information. Thanks to the great help from many people and some organisations such as the Internet Society, Cuban people have been able to learn and get information about how to set up the Cuban internet. The access to the hardware market has been possible through third countries, however we get material without the complete support/service and guaranty. We are also confronted with the increase in prices when buying through third parties. Despite all these problems due to the US embargo, now-a-days the Cuban internet has been established with a secure and complete connection to the Internet via a dedicated 64Kb SprintNet line.

Despite the establishment of the internet in Cuba, the national backbone bandwidth is just 64Kb, which is very little taking into consideration the requirements of the country. In addition, the telecommunications infrastructure in Cuba is based on very old installations with very old technology and analogue phone lines and old cable that produce a lot of noise.

In terms of Internet use, the government gives priority to research, medical and education centres. Research centres and public health institutions have full access to the Internet. In the area of education an educational intranet is being set up. It will be fully connected to the Internet when the national backbone bandwidth is wider. The Internet is also used in tourism via the web.

Ernesto Guido Montano, Cuba


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ISSN: 1664-834X Copyright © , Alan McCluskey,
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Created: September 5th, 1997 - Last up-dated: September 5th, 1997