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Thanks to Google, Cubans Are Getting a Much Faster Internet

by Alyssa Newcomb /
Image: Google headquarters
Google headquarters in Mountain View, California on September 2, 2015.Justin Sullivan / Getty Images, file

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Google is about to change the internet browsing experience in Cuba in a big way.

On Wednesday, the technology giant became the first foreign internet company to set up servers in the island nation. While it won't do much to boost internet access in the country, it will speed up the experience for those who are already online.

Image: People stand under a sign at Google headquarters
People stand under a sign at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California, on Jan. 5, 2010.Robert Galbraith / AFP - Getty Images Pool, file

Google's Cuban servers will be able to store popular content locally, making it easier for people within Cuba to watch something, such as a viral YouTube video, according to Buzzfeed, which first reported the news. Previously, people surfing the internet in Cuba have had to rely on a long-distance cable connecting Cuba via Venezuela.

With U.S.-Cuban diplomatic ties now open for the first time in decades, Cuba signed a deal with Google last December aimed at improving its internet speeds.

"This in turn means Cubans who already have access to the internet and want to use our services can expect to see an improvement in terms of quality of service and reduced latency for cached content," said Google last year.

Related: Why U.S. Airlines Are Dropping Flights to Cuba

The island country is currently lagging behind much of the world when it comes to connectivity, with internet access being a costly luxury only few can afford.

Google first began rolling out products in Cuba in 2014, including its Google Chrome browser, Google Play store and Google Analytics.

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