On the spectrum of telecommunications and information technology development, Cuba is found at both extremes. In terms of the reach of its basic residential telephone network, Cuba ranks near the bottom among Latin American countries. Yet Cuba is incubating a group of enterprises that design and export advanced business and medical software products. And Cuba’s government, fully aware of this sector’s importance in economic development, is working to make the population computer-literate even as it limits Internet access. This paper examines the state of Cuba’s telecommunications services and the impact of foreign investment – $473 million between 1995 and 2000 – on the modernization of this sector; describes Cuba’s “cyber-education” efforts; reports on ways Cubans gain access to the Internet, legally and surreptitiously; and looks at several examples of businesses that are using up-to-date technology and commercial practices.
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