Google became the first foreign internet company to operate in Cuba this week, when it’s data center went live. This has been in the works for months, as Google inked the deal with Cuba back in December.
This is a promising start for a country which has never been well-connected. Most Cubans up to this point get their internet via Venezuela, meaning latency is terrible.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the same thing as giving Cuba the Wi-Fi and broadband access Barack Obama mentioned last year. This only effects people who already have internet access on the island — which, according to Forbes, is only 25-percent of the population. The cost of internet is about $1.50 an hour there, even more expensive than you think considering the average Cuban makes $25 a week.
While this data center can’t actually give impoverished Cubans internet access, it can improve the connection quality for those who already have it. Google will be using the data center to store high-traffic videos.