In December 2016, Google announced its plan to launch in Cuba, after it had signed a deal with ETECSA, the Cuban state-run internet provider. The deal would allow ETECSA to deliver bandwidth heavy content, such as the videos on YouTube, to local users through local servers.
This would increase browsing and streaming speed, along with downloading speed as well, as now they would not have to reach out to a foreign server to get the data. Dyn Research noticed on Wednesday 26th April 2017, that Google’s first Cuban server had gone live during a span of 24 hours. Google has thus become the first international company to have a running data server in Cuba.
This will help improve Google’s services within the country, in terms of reliability and speed. According to the Miami Herald, the company’s director, Doug Madory, wrote:
It is a milestone as this is the first time an outside internet company has hosted anything in Cuba. This will only improve Cuban users experience with Google web pages, with the most notable improvement being in loading YouTube videos.
Video is very traffic intensive and caching popular videos locally will improve load time and relieve strain on ETECSA’s congested international links.
However, Google’s attempts will only better its own service, not the conditions of internet availability in Cuba. Cubans have extremely limited access to the internet. The cost for internet connections can be very high, while the speed will be low. Though Google has a live server in Cuba, it may not be completely functional.
Good Step for Cuba
It was reported on BuzzFeed that Madory stated that local traffic isn’t automatically directed to Google’s server yet. Even though the server has yet to become fully functional and this doesn’t increase internet access in the country, this is still a good step for Cuba.