Google Global Cache is now available in Cuba

People surf the internet at a public WiFi hotspot in downtown Havana, Cuba.
People surf the internet at a public WiFi hotspot in downtown Havana, Cuba. AP

Cubans can access Google sites faster now that Google Global Cache (GGC) service is available on the island, an internet analysis firm announced Wednesday.

“GGC nodes in Cuba finally went active in the past 24hrs,” Doug Madory, director of Dyn Research, wrote in an email. “It is a milestone as this is the first time an outside internet company has hosted anything in Cuba.”

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Google Global Cache allows users to store content from Google services such as Gmail and YouTube on local servers, in this case those of the state telecommunications monopoly ETECSA. The agreement between Alphabet, Google’s parent company, and ETECSA was signed in Havana in December.

“This will only improve Cuban users experience with Google webpages, with the most notable improvement being in loading YouTube videos,” Madory explained. “Video is very traffic intensive and caching popular videos locally will improve load time and relieve strain on ETECSA’s congested international links.”

After former President Barack Obama started a process of normalization with Cuba, Google has made several attempts to improve internet access on the island, which has one of the slowest connections on the planet, despite the existence of submarine cable ALBA-1. Internet penetration is also one of the lowest in Latin America and ETECSA is one of the companies most criticized by Cubans.

However, the Cuban government rejected a more ambitious Google plan to expand the internet on the island. Google then opened a technology center with free high-speed internet service in the studio of artist Alexis Leiva Machado, known as “Kcho”.

The password to access the internet at the studio: AbajoElBloqueo (Downwiththeblockade).

Follow Nora Gámez Torres on Twitter: @ngameztorres