IDT Telecom has begun handling direct international long-distance (ILD) calls between the US and Cuba, making it the first US-based telecoms company with a direct connection to the island, reports the Miami Herald. Last month Newark, New Jersey-based IDT signed an agreement with Cuba’s state-owned telecoms monopoly Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA) to exchange ILD traffic and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) gave IDT the green light for the deal last week.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in December 2014 the US initiated new efforts to increase Cubans’ access to telecoms and their ability to communicate freely, as part of steps to change relations between the two countries and to further engage and empower the Cuban people. The US said it will authorise the commercial sale of certain consumer communications devices, related software, applications, hardware and services, and items for the establishment and update of communications-related systems. In a further step, Washington is allowing telecoms providers to establish the necessary mechanisms, including infrastructure, in Cuba to provide commercial telecoms and internet services, which will improve communication between the island and the US.