Telefonica: 'No involvement' with Cuba cable
HAVANA (AP) -- Spanish telecom Telefonica denied Tuesday that it provides Internet routing service to Cuba via an undersea fiber-optic cable, adding to the mystery surrounding the island's first hard-wired data link to the outside world.
In a brief statement to The Associated Press, Telefonica SA acknowledged that it provides service to Cuba's state-run phone company, ETECSA, but disavowed any connection to the ALBA-1 cable, which was completed in February 2011.
"Telefonica has no involvement with the submarine cable ALBA-1, which links Cuba with Venezuela," chief press officer Miguel Angel Garzon said in the statement.
Telefonica's denial came in response to a report by Renesys, a company that analyzes global Internet traffic patterns. The report noted faster data traffic to the island beginning last week via Telefonica, and concluded that it meant Cuba was finally using the fiber-optic cable.
The cable was strung from Venezuela nearly two years ago with great fanfare, but authorities soon fell silent about it amid whispers of purported corruption and embezzlement involving the project.
Cuban officials have not responded to requests for comment about the status of the cable. In the past, the government has said it would be prioritized for usage in the public interest and for social good.
Until now, Internet in Cuba has been through satellite links that are slower than fiber.
The island ranks second-to-last in the world in Internet connectivity, according to one study.