In what could be a major boost for US telecom growth in Cuba, the Federal Communications Commission has removed Cuba from the commission’s “Exclusion List.”
By removing Cuba from the list, the move opens the door for US telecom carriers to provide facilities-based telephone and Internet service to Cuba without separate approval from the FCC.
Cuba had been the last remaining country on the Exclusion List.
“Specifically, this action allows carriers seeking new international Section 214 authority for facilities-based service to Cuba to receive such authority sooner, and permits carriers with existing global Section 214 authority to provide services between the United States and Cuba without additional authorization,” the FCC said in a statement.
Tom Sullivan, associate bureau chief of the FCC’s International Bureau, said that removing Cuba from the list benefited the public interest “as it will likely alleviate administrative and cost burdens on both the applicant and the Commission, and will promote competition on the U.S.-Cuba route.”
The FCC says that the international section 214 process “ensures that the U.S. market is protected against potential anti-competitive behavior by a carrier with market power in a foreign country.”
When the US announced its landmark rapprochement with Cuba in December 2014, it quickly identified telecom as a priority area, announcing that it would allow telecom companies to begin developing infrastructure projects in Cuba.
Cuba has an Internet penetration rate of about five percent — among the lowest of any nation on earth.