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Google to bring Internet to unconnected Cuba

Sharon Gaudin | March 22, 2016
If Google can work around government roadblocks, information could flood into the communist country.

"We know, from the experience of many countries around the world, that new technologies and improved Internet access can help people in their daily lives, provide new information and experiences, and help harness a country's creativity and ingenuity," Permutter wrote. "We hope to have the chance to offer more services to the Cuban people in the future."

He did not give any specifics on how Google will be setting up Wi-Fi and broadband services in Cuba.

Analysts, though, are wondering how this will work out.

"It is a huge deal for Cuba but you wonder how long it will be before the Cuban government wants to control content and this relationship goes south like it did in China," said Rob Enderle, an analyst with the Enderle Group. "I have my doubts this will end well because I don't know if Cuba is ready for full Internet access yet."

Jeff Kagan, an independent industry analyst, also is holding off on making an initial judgment on the news.

"On the surface, historically this is a great announcement," he told Computerworld. "I just don't think we should get all excited until we know the details. On one hand, Google doesn't like to be told what they can and can't show users. On the other hand, I can't imagine the Cuban government would open the floodgates of information to their people without controlling every bit and byte. It just won't happen that way. Not for a long time anyway, if ever."

However, Olds noted that if the Cuban government doesn't get in the way of this deal, it could be a great thing.

"This is a big step when it comes to bringing the Net to isolated communities of people around the world," he said. "Cuba, along with North Korea, is one of the few remaining holdouts from the Internet. Wiring them up is a big step in the right direction and should help bring Cuba into the 21st century."

 

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