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Cuban Telecommunications, Computer Networking, and U.S. Policy Implications,

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Information and communications is becoming a strategic factor in U.S.-Cuban relations. Its importance is increasingly recognized by research analysts and by U.S. policy makers and legislators. Yet there is a dearth of knowledge about the telecommunications situation in Cuba, and about its implications for the formulation of future U.S. options in this policy area. This study surveys the current telecommunications situation in Cuba, with an emphasis on computer networking. Cuba already has four networks with international connections to the Internet and three x.25 networks. In spite of extreme economic problems, Cuban networks have grown substantially in size and sophistication since 1992, mainly because the Cuban government has allowed and funded their growth. The Internet is expanding globally, and there is evidence that a small investment in computer networks can have a relatively large impact in developing nations that is positive for U.S. interests. Thus, a major conclusion of this report is that U.S. policy should encourage Cuban computer networking. Seven specific recommendations emerge from the study 1 Encourage Cuban Internet connectivity 2 Reduce administrative bottlenecks regarding bidirectional travel for technicians and new communication offerings 3 Avoid the posting of blatant propaganda on the Internet 4 Utilize the Internet to communicate balanced news and analysis 5 Avoid legislative restrictions on telecommunications 6 Permit direct investment in Cuban telecommunications and computer networks by U.S. firms and 7 Foster Internet usage by Cuban NGOs, universities, and other Cuban users.

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  • Government and Political Science
  • Computer Systems
  • Radio Communications

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