U.S. urges rejection of undersea cable connection to Cuba

Follow us on Google News:
 U.S. urges rejection of undersea cable connection to Cuba
Image source: ©2022 Kalkine Media®

By David Shepardson


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. government committee on Thursday urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to deny an application to connect Cuba to the United States through a new undersea cable landing station to handle internet, voice and data traffic.

The Justice Department-led panel known as "Team Telecom" said the proposal raised national security concerns because the cable-landing system in Cuba would be owned and controlled by Cuba’s state-owned telecommunications monopoly, Empresa de Telecommunicaciones de Cuba S.A. (ETECSA) and would be the only direct, commercial undersea cable connection between the United States and Cuba.

The U.S. government in recent years has been scrutinizing undersea cable connections especially involving China. Around 300 subsea cables form the backbone of the internet, carrying 99% of the world’s data traffic.

Team Telecom said Cuba "could access sensitive U.S. data traversing the new cable segment." An FCC spokesman said the agency is reviewing the recommendations.

The existing ARCOS-1 submarine cable system connects the United States with 14 countries in the Caribbean, Central America and South America and sought to expand to a landing station in Cojimar, Cuba.

ARCOS-1 USA cited a 2019 State Department Cuba Internet Task Force that "recommended enabling the construction of new submarine cables to Cuba."

The company did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

ARCOS-1 USA said in a 2021 filing with the FCC that the cable would "increase the means through which Cubans on the island can communicate with the United States and the rest of the world."

Team Telecom said it supports the "Cuban people’s access to an open, interoperable, secure, and reliable internet" but said the proposal poses "unacceptable risks to U.S. national security."

Alphabet's Google and Facebook parent Meta previously abandoned a proposal to use an undersea cable to Hong Kong, which is controlled by Beijing after Team Telecom recommended blocking that plan in 2020.

In 2020, FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks called for enhanced scrutiny of undersea cables.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

Disclaimer

The above content is directly sourced from Reuters under a contractual arrangement. The content is being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; and does not constitute an endorsement or approval by Kalkine Media of any of the products, services, or opinions of the organization or individual. The user is apprised that Kalkine Media bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality, or content of Reuters, any external sites, or for that of subsequent links. The user is requested to contact Reuters directly for answers to questions regarding the content. Please note that Kalkine Media may be compensated by the advertisers that appear on the website, based on your interaction with the advertisements or advertisers.

Featured Articles