Cuba's second-ever submarine cable, connecting Cuba to Martinique and deployed by Orange, is now being tested. The testing process began in April.
The Arimao cable, deployed by Orange with Cuban-state-owned telecoms service provoder ETECSA, was first announced in December. According to the Data Centre Dynamics website, the December announcement followed moves by US regulators to block a separate application to connect Cuba to the US via a new subsea cable landing station.
At that time the US government apparently called on the Federal Communications Commission to block the application to connect Cuba with the US due to concerns around national security.
In fact, at the moment, US sanctions and restrictions mean that Cuba has no direct submarine cables to the mainland US. The ALBA-1 cable, which goes to Venezuela, was deployed as long ago as 2011.
The 2,500-kilometre Arimao cable began deployment in January; it will connect to a cable landing station in Cienfuegos when it launches later this year.
Not too surprisingly, the significant (though not yet revealed) boost Arimao will offer Cuba's connectivity is urgently needed. Although internet demand is growing, not least since private Wi-Fi in homes and businesses was legalized in 2019, lack of capacity has meant regular outages and low speeds for Cuban internet users, who are estimated to number a little over seven million out of a population of 11.3 million.
Martinique is already a landing point for a number of submarine cables, including ECFS, Southern Caribbean Fibre, Americas-II, and Kanawa.