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Google shakes hands on Cuba internet deal

AAP logoAAP 12/12/2016 Sara Gomez Armas

Google and Cuba's state telecom company have signed a pact to step up access speed for Google's online products, a timid improvement to the island's sluggish internet access.

The agreement was reached last November and was confirmed on Monday in Havana by Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt and the president of Etecsa, Mayra Arevich.

With this agreement, Cuba obtains access to the previously banned Google Global Cache, which cuts access time to Google content on the internet, providing greater speed and quality of service and optimising the capabilities of the Etecsa international network.

Etecsa will be able to use Google technology to reduce delays in delivering locally some of the American company's most popular wide-band content such as videos and YouTube.

Google's presence on the island goes back to 2014, a few months before the diplomatic thaw between Cuba and the US, when for the first time it launched such products as Google Chrome, Google Play and Google Analytics.

The company said the pact reflects Google's most essential values, making all the information in the world accessible and useful for everyone.

Since diplomatic relations were resumed, the US has often expressed its interest in Cuba having more and better Web access, since the island is currently among the countries with the lowest internet penetration in the world.

While the US has to some degree eased its embargo on the island, Cuban authorities say that the measures are very limited and it is still difficult to acquire software and the latest in information technology.

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