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New U.S.-Cuba relations could have big implications for technology

New U.S.-Cuba relations could have big implications for technology
photo courtesy of shutterstock

I don't know if you've heard yet, but after 56 years, the United States and Cuba have reconciled and diplomatic ties will be restored to Cuba. When President Obama made the announcement, we heard about it online instantly here in the United States.

However in Cuba, leader Raul Castro's speech had to be typed and uploaded to Cuba's state-controlled intranet. The speeches were not streamed live in Cuba like in the U.S. because of Cuba's sub-par Internet structure. But all that could be about to change.

The new political stance doesn't just cover Americans bringing home Cuban cigars. It also is responsible for the influx of technology into Cuba from America.

That means that now reliable cellphones, smartphones and Internet technology can now make their way into Cuba to bring it up to speed with the rest of the world. But, it's not without a few catches.

Experts are predicting that while a free and unregulated Internet is still quite a ways away for Cuba, the means of communication will still increase through the use of technology.

Those that have access to the Internet will be able to download and share music, literature and art with friends that will likewise share it around as a kind of "offline Internet." But President Obama is looking to bring the Internet to Cuba as quickly as possible.

"After acknowledging that U.S. sanctions on the country have for years 'denied Cubans access to technology that has empowered individuals around the globe,' Obama stated: 'I've authorized increased telecommunications connections between the United States and Cuba. Businesses will be able to sell goods that enable Cubans to communicate with the United States and other countries.'"

The trouble here is that Cuba has a law in place that I can see will have major ISPs like Comcast in a fit.

"With a few exceptions, foreign companies can enter contracts with the Cuban government only if they are willing to transfer 51 percent ownership of their holdings on the island to the Cuban government itself. In effect, this means that all foreign businesses are still majority owned by the Cuban government."

What do you think? Will Cuba ever be able to connect to a decent Internet? Let me know in the comments below.

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Source: Slate
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