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Netflix announces service in Cuba

Netflix announces service in Cuba

Posted by Juan Gavasa on February 09, 2015

Netflix announced on Monday that it will start extending its services to Cuba, weeks after the Obama administration eased restrictions on trade with the Communist nation 90 miles off the coast of Florida.

“We are delighted to finally be able to offer Netflix to the people of Cuba, connecting them with stories they will love from all over the world,” Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings said in a statement. “Cuba has great filmmakers and a robust arts culture and one day we hope to be able to bring their work to our global audience of over 57 million members.”

While Netflix will be available in Cuba for the first time, it’s unlikely to take hold immediately.

Poor infrastructure has made anything approaching U.S. broadband Internet speeds merely a fantasy for Cuba at this point.

Just a quarter of the country has access to the Internet, according to the International Telecommunications Union, though much of that is limited to an intranet of Cuban services and sites. Only about 5 percent of the island nation have unrestricted access to the full Internet.

Additionally, Cubans looking to binge on “Orange Is the New Black” and other videos will need to have access to international methods of payment, which are only just getting online between the U.S. and Cuba.

Still, the announcement represents one step in Cuba’s long march to access the progress of the 21st Century.

Technology and telecommunications companies have been eagerly eyeing the Obama administration’s regulatory actions in the weeks since the announcement of a “new course” between the U.S. and Cuba late last year.

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