HAVANA TIMES — A direct telecommunications connection between Cuba and the United States is already operating, but only for voice telephone calls, said the Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba SA (ETECSA).
“A direct interconnection between the US and Cuba has been established, initially for international voice calls” announced the Cuban telephone company, reported dpa news.
This is the first agreement between companies of Cuba and the United States since the historic decision of presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro last December 17 to restore diplomatic relations after more than a century of ruputre.
The restoration of direct communications between the United States and Cuba “will allow greater ease and quality in communications between the peoples of the two countries,” said the Cuban company last February 20 at the conclusion of the negotiations.
In late March the US State Department’s coordinator of international communications and information, Daniel Sepulveda, will visit Havana to probe the Cuban technical capacity to absorb a high volume of direct communications. Nearly two million Cubans are currently living in the United States and are considered potential users of the service.
In the 90s Washington froze the funds that US telephone companies owed to Cuba for the service, so Havana reacted with a tax on phone rates and both parties finally agreed that the calls would be processed through third countries.
The pioneer company to take advantage of the new possibilities is IDT, headquartered in Newark, New Jersey and specializing in international calls.