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Cuba, Venezuela to install undersea cable

Cuba and Venezuela will install an undersea optical fiber cable connecting the two countries to counter US embargo, Cuba's official daily Granma reported.

The cable will have a total capacity of 640 gigabytes with 320 for each optical fiber, increasing by 3,000 times Cuba's data, voice and video transmission capacity with other countries, said Carlos Orfilia, the Venezuelan official adviser of the project.

He said advanced technology would be used to guarantee Cuba and Venezuela's independence in telecommunications.

This project will end Cuba's dependence on satellites services made expensive due to the US embargo, said Wilfredo Morales, director of the Telecomunicaciones Gran Caribe Commpany, the Cuba-Venezuela joint venture created to build and operate the planned cable.

The decades-long US embargo on Cuba has prevented other telecommunication companies from connecting lines to the island, like that of Miami-Cancun, which is only 32 km away from pier of Havana.

As a result of the cooperation efforts by the Bolivarian Alternative for America (ALBA), a regional integration initiative joined by Bolivia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Venezuela, the 1,550-km long optical fiber cable will connect Camuri of northern Venezuela with Siboney in east Cuba.

According to experts, the fiber will be as thick as a human hair and covered with a special material to protect it against sharks.

The cable designed with bifurcation may benefit other countries like Nicaragua and Haiti in the future.

Granma said the selection of the supplier will end in August and the cable installation will complete at the end of 2009 at the earliest. (Xinhua)