Google has now signed a deal with Cuban telecom giant ETECSA for a partnership that will turn out to be instrumental in improving the country’s notoriously sluggish and unreliable internet connectivity.
This partnership is aimed towards creating a cost-free and direct connection between Cuban networks and Google’s own, thus allowing quicker access to services like YouTube and Google Search.
The companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Havana, thus setting the goal of speeding up connectivity to help bring communications on the island into the 21st century. This is also a key policy of President Miguel Diaz-Canel.
“The implementation of this internet traffic exchange service is part of the strategy of ETECSA for the development and computerization of the country,” Google and ETECSA said in a joint statement at a news conference in Havana.
No times frames were given for when these connections would be implemented. Instead, the agreement between the two companies created a working group of engineers to scope out the project for specifics.
News of Google’s deal with Cuba comes just a day after the tech giant’s CEO Sundar Pichai met with President Trump in Washington to discuss the company’s intentions around re-entering China – a country that, much like Cuba, hasn’t always had the warmest relationship with the United States.
“We are creating a working group which is comprised of engineers from Google and ETECSA who would work together to analyze ways to implement the direct internet connection,” said Google’s Chief in Cuba, Brett Perlmutter.
ETECSA Vice President of Investments Luis Adolfo Iglesias told reporters the companies would work towards better connectivity “when technical conditions allow”. Mobile internet has been available on the island since December and nearly two million of ETECSA’s five million-plus customers have already subscribed to the 3G service.