United States Telecommunications Policies in the Carribean

by Pamela Hilliard Owens on January 23, 2010

Cuban FlagAs the eyes of the world continue to focus on the Caribbean, it is helpful to remember that in the spring of 2009, the United States began implementation of a series of telecom changes in its policy with Cuba. Foremost of the changes was the increase of authorized telecommunications links that will allow U.S. telecommunications providers to establish fibre-optic and telecommunications facilities that link Cuba and the United States.

Additionally, the telecommunications providers in the United States will be able enter into licensing and roaming operating agreements with the telecommunications providers in Cuba. The licenses will allow the U.S. telecom providers to provide services to customers in Cuba and to let a license exception facilitate export of mobile phone systems, computers, software, and satellite receivers; even through 3rd-country service providers.

As we continue to deliberate the political ramifications of the policies of the United States towards anything and everything concerning Cuba, it is helpful to remember that one of the political reasons for this relaxing of the policy is that Cuba was moving towards allowing Venezuela dominating its telecommunications policy. Of course it is logistically easier to extend fibre-optic cables from the United States to Cuba than from Venezuela to Cuba; but Cuba seems to want to go for the best deal; like most countries. So the Obama Administration has decided that the “best deal” should come from the United States, not Venezuela.

How this will extend to our Caribbean neighbour Haiti is yet to be seen. Future opportunities abound.

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Written by: Pamela Hilliard Owens.

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