The U.S. could stand to make considerable money from its newfound detente with Cuba, it seems. The Obama administration is loosening its sanctions on Cuba, which means American telecom and Internet providers will now be able to make inroads into the country. According to the Washington Post, this could lead to two important changes. First, giant American telecommunications firms like Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T can enter into agreements with Cuban partners to offer better mobile and broadband service. Second, American companies can now outsource work to Cuban software developers.
Only a measly 5% of Cuba’s populace has access to the Internet as we know it here in the U.S.; the country is known to be one of the least connected in the world. Internet is by and large limited to the homes of foreigners, high-end hotels, and specific professional jobs. But mobile phones are widely used, and the island nation is thought to be an untapped market opportunity for American companies.
Airbnb, for its part, has already entered the Cuban market, which Fast Company editor Sarah Kessler reported on extensively earlier this year. The company used an existing network of travel agents to tap into the Cuban market despite the dearth of Internet connectivity.
Cubans also plug into Internet content through El Paquete Semanal, a weekly digest loaded onto a USB drive that gives them offline access to popular movies, TV shows, and magazines.
[via Washington Post]