lpress writes: Cuba has developed a hacker/maker culture out of necessity and neighborhood local area networks are one manifestation of that culture. The networks are used for file sharing, game playing, and discussion of sports, culture, technology, etc., but not politics. We all stand to benefit from Cuban innovation.
lpress writes: Nearly all of Cuba's international traffic is now routed over the ALBA-1 undersea cable, which connects Cuba and Venezula. The cable landing is at the east end of the island, so there must be a backbone connecting major cities to it. Huawei is installing home DSL and WiFi hotspotsi in Cuba — have they also installed an inter-province backbone?
lpress writes: Two Cuban universities have fiber links and fiber connections will be available to all Cuban universities in January 2016. One of the currently connected universities is in the west, near Havana (satellite ground station) and one in the east, near the undersea cable landing. Are these the early stages of a fiber backbone? Cuba will use Chinese equipment for DSL to the home and Wifi access points. I wonder if Chinese equipment is being used in these fiber links. If so, how is Cuba paying for it and what, if anything, are they giving up? Oh — and where does that leave US vendors?
lpress writes: OneWeb has announced that Airbus will manufacture their Internet-connectivity satellites and told us more about their plans and progress. Both OneWeb and their competitor SpaceX have the same goal — global Internet connectivity and backhaul using satellite constellations, but their technologies and organizational strategies are different. SpaceX will use many more satellites than OneWeb, but they will be smaller, shorter-lived, cheaper and orbit at a lower altitude. They are also keeping more of the effort in-house. This is competitive capitalism at its best — let's hope both succeed.
lpress writes: The formation of the Unión de Informáticos de Cuba (UIC) was announced at a Havana conference and a 7,500 person teleconference (no mean feat in Cuba). My first reaction was "cool — like a Cuban ACM," but there are signfificant differences between ACM and UIC. For example, one must apply to the Ministry of Communication to be accepted into the UIC and the application form asks about membership in political organizations like the Communist Party or Young Communists League along with technical qualifications. A CS degree is required (sorry Bill Gates). UIC members must be Cuban, while ACM has chapters in 57 nations. ACM has student chapters, but they are less needed in Cuba, which has over 600 youth computer clubs where kids take classes and play games and promising students are tracked and channeled into technical schools.
lpress writes: Elon Musk's SpaceX and Greg Wyler's OneWeb both hope to provide global Interent access using constellations of low-Earth orbit satellites. Neither company plans to be in operation for several years, but Musk's SpaceX is ready to test two satellites. They have applied for permission to launch two satellites that will orbit at 625 km. They will use them to test two types of terminal at each of three West Coast ground stations.
lpress writes: The Cuban startup community has some things going for it, including well educated users, hackers and developers and a resourceful, cooperative culture. That's the good news, but obstacles include nearly nonexistent Internet connectivity, a lack of capital and business experience and a bureaucratic government that may favor state enterprises. Let's hope the community takes off.
lpress writes: I have my classes watch three Elon Musk videos — an interview by Sal Khan of the Khan Academy, Musk introducing his planned satellite constellation for global Internet connectivity and his introduction of Tesla Energy. The videos show his goals and motivation, his role as an open-source catalyst rather than an industrialist and his skill as a speaker.
lpress writes: A second delegation from Google is in Cuba and they have visited two important technical universities and some of Cuba's Youth Computer Clubs. The US government is now allowing us to import goods produced by Cuban entrepreneurs, Might we soon be seeing Cuban apps in the Google Play store or the stores of Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, and anyone else selling software online?
lpress writes: Sundar Pichai of Google and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg reported on their efforts to connect the 3-4 billion people who are still off line. Google's Project Loon is making progress — their Internet service balloons are now staying up for about 6 months and delivering up to 10 mbps. They have also deployed an 800 km fiber backbone in Kampala, Uganda and plan to do the same in "many more" African cities. Facebook's cell-phone connectivity project, Internet.org, is already offering basic Internet services (not full Internet connectivity) in six nations. For example, they provide cell-phone access to Facebook and 37 other Web sites in India. Their Connectivity Lab is also working on long-range projects.
lpress writes: In an effort to support Cuba's nascent private sector, the Treasury Department announced on Friday that Americans can now import goods and services produced by “independent Cuban entrepreneurs.” Will the Cuban government allow that? Cuba is a communist nation, but they have a list of 201 job categories in which self-employment is permitted. Most of those jobs are goofy things like magician and pedal-taxi driver, but one is not – computer programmer. Will the Castro regime let private individuals and organizations export software and software services to the United States and the rest of the world?
"old fart"? You are an arrogant fool.
Few Cubans can afford to use the Internet cafes or attend universities or have accounts through their jobs. The cell phones are not like those in Asia -- they are 2G.
They still have some international satellite connectivity in addition to the undersea cable, but the real need is not for international connectivity but domestic access. In the short run, satellite and terrestrial wireless could make a big difference at low cost if the Cuban government were willing.