Google to Provide Internet to Cuba, says US president

March 21
11:26 PM 2016

Cuba has been considered as one of the world's least digitally connected state.  During Barack Obama's historic visit to the country, he announced that Google will provide the island nation with internet service where it will begin to set up more WiFi and broadband access.

The U.S. president made it public about the company's plans during his ABC News exclusive interview which aired in Monday about Google's setting up of more WiFi and broadband access to Cuba's households and business majority that lacks internet access, according to Time.

"One of the things that we'll be announcing here is that Google has a deal to start setting up more WiFi and broadband access on the island," Obama told ABC anchor David Muir. "Over time, if in fact, we start seeing access to the internet, which is necessary for Cuba to enter into the 21st century economically, invariably that gives the Cuban people more information and allows them to have more of a voice."

ETECSA which is Cuba's state telecom company has just announced the launch of its first domestic broadband project in Cuba. The service is run by Huawei that pioneered the broadband to the city's old colonial center, Old Havana, and is expected to expand.

Google's introduction will drive competition and embolden faster digital growth since the country needs it. Currently, the sole internet connection accessible to foreign companies' employees at expensive cost is $2 for a 1-hr public WiFi access, states Gizmodo.

It was reported in June that a Google executive visited Cuba to deliver better internet to the island. In July, there were also reports that the plan of Internet expansion was presented to the Cuban government by the Google executive but officials were hesitant.  At that time, a spokesperson from Google said that the tech company was "working to help the Cuban government think through their publicly stated goal of improving Internet access," and that no money was involved to developing Internet connectivity, as reported by Fortune.

Cuba has now two internet providers, Huawei and Google. President Obama announced during his visit that Google will provide broader and faster WiFi and broadband access.

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