FCC approves IDT's US-Cuba phone link
12 March 2015 |
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved a request by IDT to provide direct phone connections between the US and Cuba for the first time in decades.
In February IDT reached an agreement with Cuba’s telecoms monopoly, Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (Etecsa), to provide voice calls between the two countries. The FCC, the US telecoms regulator, approved IDT's request after a 10-day review.
"Direct interconnection between the United States and Cuba, initially for international voice calls, has been established. The re-establishment of direct communications between the United States and Cuba will help offer greater ease and quality of communications between the people of both nations," Etecsa said.
This marks the first telecoms service deal between the two countries since US president Barack Obama ordered restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba in December 2014. The block on phone calls was a consequence of the US blockade on trade with Cuba, which had been in place since 1960. No other countries have banned phone calls to and from Cuba.
"This is an important first step in the liberalisation of telecommunications between the US and Cuba," Bill Pereira, IDT Telecom’s CEO, said. "Ultimately, the agreement will help make it easier and more affordable for our customers to call friends and family in Cuba."