US telecoms delegation visits Cuba for talks

27 Mar 2015

A delegation of US telecommunications officials has concluded a three-day visit to Cuba as part of efforts to restore diplomatic relations between the two countries, writes Cuban News Agency. The delegation, headed by Daniel Sepulveda, the US State Department’s Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy, held talks with Cuban officials, including Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Communications, Jorge Luis Perdomo Di-Lella. During the meeting, the island’s officials provided information about the country’s computer systems and cybersecurity policy. In February Newark, New Jersey-based IDT Telecom signed an agreement with Cuba’s state-owned telecoms monopoly Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA) to exchange international long-distance (ILD) traffic, and earlier this month IDT began handling direct calls between the US and Cuba, making it the first US-based telecoms company with a direct connection to the island.

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.