Getting in and out of Cuba

Change is coming to Cuba – Our early work on characterizing Cuba’s Internet connectivity to appear at the next ACM Internet Measurement Conference (IMC) 2015!

Read the full paper here
It may have taken 54 years, but change is coming to Cuba. Last December, the US government announced plans to restore relations with Cuba and ease restrictions on travel and trade. It took little time for American businesses to start scouting opportunities – from Netflix to Airbnb.

Despite the promising news, the state of Cuban infrastructure, particularly in the computing and network segment, poses no small challenges to these plans. Today, less than 5% of the population have their own fixed-line Internet connection and only an estimated 25% of the population are able to get online. Those that are actually connected experience very poor performance. Ookla’s NetIndex, for instance, ranks Cuba among the worst ten countries in terms of average bandwidth – 197th out of 202 – with a measured broadband download speed of 1.67 Mbps.

We have started to characterize the state of Cuba’s access to the wider Internet. Our first paper on the topic – appearing at the ACM Internet Measurement Conference 2015 – reports on some of our early findings, including high RTTs to websites hosted off the island, even after the addition of ALBA- 1, a high degree of path asymmetry in traffic to/from the island that partially traverses high-latency satellite links and several web services that return invalid responses to requests originating from the island. We plan to make a periodic status report on the state of the Internet in Cuba and the associated data available to the research community.


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