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Submission + - The telecommunication ball is now in Cuba's court

lpress writes: The FCC dropped Cuba from its exclusion list on January 25, so there are now no restrictions on US telecom company dealings with ETECSA, the Cuban government telecommunication monopoly, or any other Cuban organization. Last week the US sent our second high-level telecommunication delegation to Cuba. The delegates were FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and other government officials plus representatives of Cisco, Comcast and Ericsson. Some of the news — there are at least 6 proposals for an undersea cable between Havana and Florida; Cisco has proposed a Network Academy at Cuba's leading computer science university (Chinese infrastructure dominates today); 4G mobile connectivity was discussed and Google was conspicuously absent. The time for Cuba to act is now — while President Obama is still in office.

Submission + - Cuba's nationwide sneakernet -- a model for other developing nations?

lpress writes: Cuba has little Internet infrastructure, but they have a well-organized sneaker net called El Paquete Semanal (the weekly packet). El Paquete distributes a terabyte of digital entertainment nationwide every week using portable drives. The system is reliable and the organization is said to be Cuba's largest private employer, but it is technically illegal and the content is pirated. A legitimatized Paquete would save scarce Internet resources for other applications. El Paquete is also a possible model for other developing nations.

Submission + - The Los Angeles startup scene

lpress writes: Los Angles claims to be the third leading tech center in the US, after New York and Silicon Valley. Greater Los Angeles is home to over 1,099 self-described startups and an ecosystem of organizations that support them — accelerators, incubators, co-working spaces, investors, maker spaces and business and technical consultants. It's also reminiscent of the PC startup days.

Submission + - Is .CO the new .COM?

lpress writes: It is more likely that a name will be available in the .CO domain than in .COM. Colombia is emerging from decades of political violence and hopes to get some revenue and polish their image a bit by promoting the .CO domain.

Comment Today nearly all Cuban traffic is over the cable (Score 1) 64

This study was done last spring, when significant amounts of Cuban international traffic were routed over satellite, but in July nearly all international traffic moved to the undersea cable, significantly improving performance. Furthermore, the study used the only RIPE Atlas probe in Cuba, so may not have been representative of the entire island at that time. For details on the transition in July and the situation today, see

Submission + - Is buying Cuban software legal in the US?

lpress writes: The Treasury Department recently issued new regulations authorizing "the importation of Cuban-origin mobile applications and the employment of Cuban nationals by persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to develop such mobile applications." Great, but that is ambiguous, so I asked Treasury some follow-up questions: why is the rule restricted to mobile apps, what is the definition of a mobile app and can the Cuban developer work for a Cuban cooperative or government enterprise or must it be an individual? The answers were mostly "no comment" so the best way to clarify the situation is to try it and see what happens.

Submission + - Cuba's report urging the UN to condemn the embargo is flawed.

lpress writes: On October 27th, the United Nations General Assembly is expected to vote on a resolution urging the United States to end its economic embargo on Cuba. Last June, Cuba issued a report arguing against the embargo and claiming that it has cost the Cuban people $833.7 billion — $57,122,900 of that in the sector of "communications and informatics, including telecommunications." The communications and informatics claims are one-sided and invalid. Cuba has introduced resolutions condeming the embargo 24 times. Last year only Israel and the US voted no and the Guardian has reported that the US has decided to vote against the resolution again because it does not fully reflect the new spirit of engagement between the US and Cuba and the Cubans were unwilling to revise it.

Submission + - From a Hole in Space to Cuba's WiFi hotspots

lpress writes: Cuba has opened 35 public-access WiFi hotspots. They are slow and expensive, but people are using them to communicate with friends and family. This is reminiscent an often overlooked, pioneering project. In 1980, artists Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz created a "Hole in Space" by connecting larger-than-life displays in New York and Los Angeles with a satellite feed. It was the mother of all video chats, demonstrating that electronic communication could convey presence and emotion. We should re-create Holes in Space using modern technology.

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