Cuba's telecommunications agency on Thursday confirmed in local media that it had begun operations of the country's first hard-wired Internet cable, The Associated Press reported.
The $70 million fiber-optic ALBA-1 cable, from Venezuela, had first been installed in February 2011, but only began carrying international phone calls in August 2012 and limited Internet tests in January, according to the report. Global Web traffic tracking firm Renesys first reported an increase in Cuba's Internet traffic rates last Sunday, but noted it appeared the cable was being used asymmetrically, for one-way data transfer. Cuban telecom agency ETECSA said in its statements that it was only conducting tests on the cable for now and that access would remain limited for the time being.
Cuba has had extremely scant Internet connectivity via satellite since 1996, with only up to 16 percent of the country's population able to log online, primarily via slower satellite connections.
(H/T: The Verge)