Rationing the digital: the politics and policy of internet use in Cuba today

Digital communications Information technology Internet North America

Routinely ranked among countries with the highest restrictions on Internet use in the world, Cuba's only telecommunications firm recently activiated two undersea fiber optic cables, drastically increasing access. This report explores the impact this will have on the island's information economy.


Although Cuba is routinely listed alongside China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia as one of the most Internet-restrictive countries in the world, there is no conclusive evidence that the Cuban government practices widespread filtering. While a handful of websites related to dissident activity are blocked, Cubans who use the global Internet are able to browse the web and participate in digital communities without facing extensive content controls. But most don’t get this far. Although the country has an active national Intranet, access to the global Internet is availably mainly to those in high-skilled professional sectors and academia. The potential impact of digital media and the global Internet on Cuban society has been limited due to the lack of network access on the island. Yet this has not prevented the increasing circulation of digital media among the country’s nascent but growing community of tech-savvy citizens.

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