Google Global Cache Servers Go Online in Cuba, But App Engine Blocked

By Larry Press
Larry Press

I had hoped to get more information before publishing this post, but difficult Internet access in Cuba and now the hurricane got in the way — better late than never.

Cuban requests for Google services are being routed to GCC servers in Cuba, and all Google services that are available in Cuba are being cached — not just YouTube. That will cut latency significantly, but Cuban data rates remain painfully slow. My guess is that Cubans will notice the improved performance in interactive applications, but maybe not perceive much of a change when watching a streaming video.

Note the italics in the above paragraph — evidently, Google blocks access to their App Engine hosting and application development platform. Cuban developers cannot build App Engine applications, and Cubans cannot access applications like the Khan Academy or Google's G-Suite.

The last time I checked, Rackspace and Amazon allow access to their hosting platforms from Cuba, but IBM Softlayer and Google did not. President Obama clearly favored improved telecommunication for Cuba, in his Cuba Policy Changes, stating:

"I've authorized increased telecommunications connections between the United States and Cuba. Businesses will be able to sell goods that enable Cubans to communicate with the United States and other countries."

While Trump claimed that he was "canceling the last administration's completely one-sided deal with Cuba," he made few changes and has said nothing about restrictions on access to Internet services by Cubans.

I wonder why IBM and Google do not follow the lead of Amazon and Rackspace.

By Larry Press, Professor of Information Systems at California State University. He has been on the faculties of the University of Lund, Sweden and the University of Southern California, and worked for IBM and the System Development Corporation. Larry maintains a blog on Internet applications and implications at cis471.blogspot.com and follows Cuban Internet development at laredcubana.blogspot.com.

Related topics: Access Providers, Broadband, Internet Governance, Policy & Regulation, Web

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