The Cuban state telecommunications company Etecsa announced on Wednesday an agreement with the French company Orange to lay an underwater cable between Cuba and Martinique to improve internet access on the island.
The announcement came just a week after experts from the US Department of Justice advised against the installation of what would have been the first submarine telecommunications cable to connect the island with US territory, the second with Cuba.
ETECSA explained in a statement that it has signed an agreement that will allow it to “expand and diversify international capacities, given the growing demand for Internet connection and broadband services” and “support its international expansion.”
“This will allow, in accordance with the economic possibilities of the country, to continue expanding international connectivity,” the company said.
This connection “will provide the country with a new route for international services, geographically diversifying the current connectivity.” Cuba has only one submarine internet cable, ALBA-1, which has linked it to Venezuela since 2012.
“This will allow, in accordance with the economic possibilities of the country, to continue expanding international connectivity”
He added that Orange will deploy the submarine cable through its subsidiary Orange Marine, to connect the province of Cienfuegos with the island of Martinique, a French overseas territory almost 2,000 kilometers away.
Etecsa did not announce terms or cost of the plan. He only indicated that the project is “under development”, that it has “all the permits for its deployment” and that “the physical structure” of the cable will be ready in 2023.
The week before, the US Federal Communications Commission recommended not granting a submarine cable license to the ARCOS-1 USA system to connect Florida with the island.
The US Department of Justice affirmed that the Cuban government represents a “counterintelligence threat” to the United States because ETECSA would administer the cable landing system and then Havana could “access sensitive US data that travels through the new segment of cable”.
The Cuban government criticized this decision and assured that it causes “harm to the Cuban people.”
On the other hand, the Cuban Minister of Foreign Relations, Bruno Rodríguez, denounced this Wednesday “strongly” a cyber attack on the website of the Foreign Ministry that occurred yesterday.
“A computerized society, increasingly present in cyberspace, requires and defends its security”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported on Twitter that its internet portal “had limited access to its users for several hours starting at 11:00 on Tuesday.”
The cause was, according to the Foreign Ministry, “a cyberattack that intended to intentionally saturate the bandwidth of the network.”
Rodríguez said this Wednesday on Twitter that they were “illegal actions by cybercriminals as part of the unconventional war against Cuba in (the) communication and digital spheres.” The statement from the Foreign Ministry also pointed to the “communication war” against the Island, without offering further details.
The Foreign Relations complaint comes just two weeks after the the government will celebrate the “National Cybersecurity Day, which had the “objective of raising awareness and proposing concrete actions in the technological field”.
“A computerized society, increasingly present in cyberspace, requires and defends its security,” said the Ministry of Communications, which used the hashtag #CiberseguridadParaTodos in several publications.
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