Google has officially become the first ever foreign internet company to launch its services in the communist country of Cuba, raising hopes that the often-isolated nation is beginning to open its doors to the rest of the world. Google made history when they recently opened a new data centre in the country, where it will now be able to store information such as popular YouTube videos and social media sites.
After spending so long cut off from the rest of the world, Google’s introduction into Cuba is a positive sign that some modernisation is taking place while the population are being given greater access to information. Now able to access Google’s services due to the on-island servers, Cubans will now have much better internet at their disposal after having to settle with getting their internet from a submarine cable run from Venezuela.
As well as the improved speed, Cuba’s inhabitants will also be able to access content such as traffic-intensive videos and downloads – which had been very tough to do before Google’s arrival. The internet giants revealed their plans last year, claiming the Cuban people "can expect to see an improvement in terms of quality of service and reduced for cached latency".
For a country that has had state controlled restricted internet for as long as the internet has been around, Google’s arrival in Cuba, firstly in 2014, is an exciting development for the country as well as the technology world. As it stands, only 5% of Cubans currently having access to the internet, with 240 public Wi-Fi spots charging $1.50 per hour with internet cafes costing $4.50 an hour. Those prices could come down now, though, and the internet is becoming a more important part of Cuban life.
It now remains to be seen whether we’ll see Google in the world’s only other major communist state: North Korea. We won’t hold our breath for that one.