Cuba's Arimao subsea cable to go live in April
The Arimao subsea cable system that will connect Cienfuegos, Cuba to Schoelcher, Martinique has a tentative go live date of April 2023.
“We hope to launch the Arimao submarine cable in April,” said Tania Velázquez Rodríguez, president of Etecsa.
"The capacities we had in ALBA-1 are saturated, so in those high-speed schedules the demand is not met. The new cable will offer important capabilities for navigation. Likewise, we must increase the capabilities of the software that enables that output so that everything flows correctly.”
Built in partnership between Cuban incumbent telco Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba S.A (Etecsa) and French telco, Orange and to be manufactured and installed by Orange Marine.
The 2470km system is being laid by Orange Marine's cable ship Pierre de Fermat has already made landfall in Martinique in January 2023 with installation having begun in December 2022.
Jean-Luc Vuillemin, president of Orange International Networks, also reportedly confirmed that in tandem to this project, the two have also built a new cable landing station that will house the technical services.
According to Rodríguez, the new system will enable the company to expand and diversify its internet and broadband capabilities as at present, the only other commercial subsea cable connecting Cuba is ALBA-1, which connects Venezuela and Jamaica with Cuba. The ALBA-1, which went live in January 2013 is already at capacity.
Once the subsea part of the installation is complete, the terrestrial part of the network will be carried out, as well as the integration of the equipment and systems of the interconnection points.
Cuba's Vice Prime Minister, Jorge Luis Perdomo told also commented that the Arimao project is "a sign of the will of the Cuban government and the Revolution's policy to continue expanding the international communications system to advance in the process of [digitisation] of society and digital transformation."
Adding that "it also demonstrates the will of, even facing the US blockade, how the work of the international company Orange gave way to this result."
Perdomo refers to the decision by the US to block the proposed extension of ARCOS-1 subsea cable to Cuba and the US as well as other parts of Caribbean.
In a comment, Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, elaborated saying: “The United States supports an open, interoperable, secure, and reliable internet around the world, including in Cuba. Unfortunately, the Cuban government does not share that view.
“As long as the Government of Cuba poses a counterintelligence threat to the United States, and partners with others who do the same, the risks to our critical infrastructure are simply too great.”