If you follow the news then you may have heard that President Obama began his visit to Cuba today. This is a historic visit coming 15 months after the reestablishment of diplomatic ties, and marks the first sitting President to visit Cuba since Calvin Coolidge visited 88 years ago. While this visit is a symbol of good grace between the two countries, for Cuba it could mean even more; in an interview today President Obama claimed that Google will soon be announcing a deal to bring increased internet access to the island nation.
It is estimated that only 5% of Cubans have access to the internet. A large reason for this is just poor internet infrastructure, but also the fact that Cubans need a special permit to even access the internet. President Obama is hoping to change this internet restriction problem. In responding to ABC’s David Muir when questioned about the problem, he replied:
“One of the things that we’ll be announcing here is that Google has a deal to start setting up more WiFi and broadband access on the island.”
We do not have the full details of this deal Google has struck, but we expect to see the deal revealed soon. Since 2014 Google has been inching closer to a less restrictive internet situation for Cubans by first allowing them to download its Chrome Browser, and then enabling access to apps via the Play Store. Now Google is hoping to get the whole country online by bringing its internet services to the island.
President Obama stated that he is hoping to bring change to the small island nation, and opening up the incredible power of the internet to the people of Cuba will be a powerful tool in making sure that happens.