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China Networking The Internet United States IT

China Beats US In Early Cuban Internet Infrastructure Investment 109

lpress writes: The US would like to sell Cuba Internet service and equipment, but we have had little success so far. China has won the first round — they financed and installed Cuba's undersea cable, supplied backbone equipment and public WiFi access centers and will provide equipment for the forthcoming home DSL rollout. That being said, Cuba has very little connectivity today and most of what they have and plan to install is already obsolete by today's standards, so they will be buying a lot of equipment in the future.
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China Beats US In Early Cuban Internet Infrastructure Investment

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  • O Rly? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Andreas Mayer ( 1486091 ) on Friday October 02, 2015 @05:44AM (#50642973) Homepage

    So you hold an embargo against a nation for decades and now they don't fall over themselves to buy from you?

    What an ungrateful bunch!

    • Indeed, besides, with what money? It's not as if you can buy a lot of equipment with a $12 per month average salary.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hij ( 552932 )
      Meh, if they had purchased it from the US the actual equipment would have been made in China anyway. The only difference is which set of suits gets to skim the profits off the back of which Chinese workers.
    • So you hold an embargo against a nation for decades and now they don't fall over themselves to buy from you?

      It works the other way too. You complain about an embargo by a nation for decades, and when they lift it you don't buy from them.

      Anyhow, the equipment isn't the problem. The slow rollout is because the Cuban government wants to tightly control who gets Internet access and what they'll have access to. In that respect, it's perfectly natural that they'll want to buy from the Chinese who are the w

  • by Roodvlees ( 2742853 ) on Friday October 02, 2015 @06:04AM (#50643017)
    They probably agree on communistic principles. But currently China is more competitive than the USA, since that market is divided in monopolies by bought politicians.
    • by Zocalo ( 252965 )
      Some potentially interesting implications with Cuba getting into bed with China though. Given historical ties with Russia (or rather the USSR) and the high probability that Cuba would look the other way regarding the numerous sanctions in place against Russia due to the involvement in the Crimea and Eastern Ukraine it seems like Russia has lost out on some major opportunities here, not least the ability to get a bit of a PR coup and rattle the cages of some of the more hawkish US political/military crowd.
      • Given historical ties with Russia (or rather the USSR) and the high probability that Cuba would look the other way regarding the numerous sanctions in place against Russia due to the involvement in the Crimea and Eastern Ukraine it seems like Russia has lost out on some major opportunities here, not least the ability to get a bit of a PR coup and rattle the cages of some of the more hawkish US political/military crowd.

        Putin's Russia has nothing to offer Cuba in terms of infrastructure. Russia main technology export is weapons, which won't be of much use to Cuba in any serious confrontation with the US.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 02, 2015 @06:05AM (#50643021)

    In the Cold War era (and still applies now), the US gave a lot of "Foreign Aid" money to many countries around the world. "Foreign Aid" in quotes because, often, the money just went the pocket of corrupt government officials, and the people in the country got what's left, if any. The result is a lot of money spent, a lot of corrupt officials made rich but very little goodwill generated among the common people.

    China obviously did their homework. Instead of just giving out money, they are building visible infrastructure projects around the less-developed countries in world, either as foreign aid if the host country accepts, or by "bidding" for infrastructure projects. "Bidding" in quotes because when you don't even try to make a profit and bundle in free financing package to boot, others can't really compete with you at all. Then the common people will see Chinese companies and workers building infrastructure for their benefit, generating goodwill.

    I wouldn't be surprised to learn the details of this successful "bid" may include 100% financing by China, probably at low interest, so Cuba don't have to pay a dime upfront. The money used for this would be a much better investment for China than buying US Bonds.

    • Selling out the US public began with Nixon's administration. The economic ball has been rolling downhill in China's direction for decades.
    • Also, it will be China's communication equipment. It will have intercept capabilities built in for the use of China's intelligence agencies. While they'd have little interest in Cubans, they anticipate American tourists soon. Corporate espionage may be profitable enough to offset China's costs...
    • by lpress ( 707742 )

      Then the common people will see Chinese companies and workers building infrastructure for their benefit, generating goodwill.

      The Chinese role in Cuba has been different than in Africa, where Chinese companies and Chinese workers build roads, etc. The Chinese were involved in financing and installing Cuba's udersea cable, but on the island China has been an equipment vendor with Cubans installing and running the networks.

      I wouldn't be surprised to learn the details of this successful "bid" may include 100% financing by China, probably at low interest, so Cuba don't have to pay a dime upfront.

      China has at times had problems collecting Cuban debt. (See the Wikileak quote in the post; however, it has been reported that they lent the money for the undersea cable then participated in its installation. That

  • Potential gubbmint backdoors. Cuba would prefer China's to America's I'm sure.
    • The Castro's will eventually die off of old age, and Cuba will be left as nothing more than a geo-political pawn to be used by other more powerful nations. I have no doubt that at some point, the Cubans will sellout -to some nation- to maintain this geopolitical advantage. The US would naturally like to keep Cuba under its sphere of influence as a future US Territory, but Cuba will only listen to the nation that brings in the largest cash flow.

      The Golden Rule: He who has the gold makes the rules.

      • The US would naturally like to keep Cuba under its sphere of influence

        "Keep"? What the hell are you talking about?

        By maintaining the embargo and having no diplomatic ties, Cuba hasn't been "under its sphere of influence" in decades.

        • True, but at one point it was prior to the revolution. I'm sure US foreign policy sees this as but a temporary loss in influence to be regained at a future date; hence "keep".

          • Yes, well, I think first America is going to have to come to terms with what the meaning of their "influence" was besides as effectively an occupying colonial power. It's now 50 years later, and if they think they're going back to controlling a benign dictator who was happy to fuck over the Cubans in exchange for Americans being able to profit ... well, I don't see that happening.

            Though, as usual, America is already planning on how to carve up the land and the profits.

            Which tells me what Americans think wi

      • +++ But this is pretty much always true of small nations. Unless you have money (Switzerland) or guns (Switzerland) or are just lucky for a while (Iceland, the Nordic states after WW II) or can group together to pretend to be a big country (European Union) you will always dance to somebody else' tune.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Don't read too much into anything. Your ability to understand the macroscopic relationships at play in the global community will only lead you to new world order conspiracies or other false beliefs. You do not know the motivations or facts in relation to this situation unless you personally possess documents or have held discussions.

    What I personally do know is that my life is going well, but investments are all down despite a relatively diversified portfolio, in times where the position of western nations

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Let the land grabing begin.
    Anyone, who think that US or China helps someone "just because" is either a complete moron or is part of the scam.

  • by Drakonblayde ( 871676 ) on Friday October 02, 2015 @07:09AM (#50643199)

    Is when the average Cuban has better bandwidth than the average US Citizen because they actually decided to build infrastructure

    • Yeah! We're number 16! We're number 16! [oecd.org]

      American exceptionalism for the "win"...

    • Well, in fairness, Cuba does have slightly less area to cover.
      • by dave420 ( 699308 ) on Friday October 02, 2015 @10:20AM (#50644349)

        If size is the problem, then why aren't US cities the best in the world for internet access? They have lots of money, many subscribers, and manageable amounts of space.

        Stop making excuses for the chain cluster-fuck that is US internet infrastructure. The more you keep hand-waiving it away the longer it will exist.

        • The problem behind the state of US internet access doesn't exist; there are many problems. Building proper infrastructure for an area the size of the US is still an enormously greater undertaking than doing so for an area the size of Cuba, though. The fact that US cities have lousy access is due to a number of other issues and in no way changes the reality that covering 3,805,927 sq mi is a bigger deal than covering 42,426 sq mi.
    • by lpress ( 707742 )

      Is when the average Cuban has better bandwidth than the average US Citizen because they actually decided to build infrastructure

      That will take a while -- Cuba is one of the least connected countries in the world [blogspot.com] and they are making a big deal of making slow DSL "available" to half their homes by 2020.

      That being said, there are good reasons for them to remain independent -- I wouldn't wish Comcast or TWC on anyone.

  • both nations' attitudes towards government control of information (a.k.a. censorship) and activity monitoring (a.k.a. spying). Working with China means accessing Chinese expertise in controlling access to information and restricting communication. And of course they're both highly corrupt pseudo-communist states, so they have that in common too.
    • by jodido ( 1052890 )
      Evidence please? Do you have any actual facts about censorship in Cuba of the internet or are you just repeating what the State Department has been saying? For example can you name a specific site that is not accessible from Cuba? I thought not. In fact there is no comparison between Cuba and China, where there is enormous censorship. Just because both countries begin with the same letter as Censorship doesn't mean they both practice it.
  • Why in the world, with all the post Snowden knowledge of U.S. backbone equipment makers being compromised by, if not working hand in hand with the NSA, would anyone expect the Cuban's to buy from U.S. suppliers? You'd have to assume that if the suppliers weren't in cahoots with the NSA to begin with that the NSA would intercept the equipment and bug it directly prior to delivery. Especially with U.S. history there.

    Now it would be expected that the Chinese equipment is probably back doored as well, howe
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I recently watched a documentary, made several years ago, on the Cuban lifestyle. Besides the 1950s automobiles, three other things stood out. The absence of advertising (the word translates as 'commercial propaganda' in Cuba). The small living quarters and spartan, chunky furniture. Against this was a recent model fridge and laptop.

    Remember, no US trade meant no American music and no US-style copyright enforcement. That will be the first thing to change. They pirated American movies though, I've hear

  • I'm sure the Cuban infrastructure is already better than what Verizon provides for me in Maryland. >. It's not even 1/4 broadband......

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