A submarine cable connecting Cuba to the French overseas territory of Martinique began testing in April.

The Arimao cable, deployed by telecoms company Orange and Cuban state-owned Etecsa, was first announced in December - a week after US regulators blocked a separate application to connect Cuba to the US.

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Cuba has no direct submarine cables to the US (other than one to US-controlled Guantanamo Bay) due to US sanctions and restrictions. The country solely relies on the ALBA-1 cable to Venezuela that was deployed way back in 2011.

Internet demand in Cuba has grown significantly since 2011, but capacity has not kept up, with locals reporting frequent outages and low speeds. Private WiFi in homes and businesses was only legalized in 2019, helping lead to an estimated 7.1 million Cuban Internet users.

The 2,500-kilometer (1,555-mile) Arimao cable was deployed in January, connecting to a cable landing station in Cienfuegos, and will significantly boost Cuba's connectivity when it launches later this year. However, Etecsa and Orange have not disclosed the cable's capacity.

Martinique, to Cuba's southeast, is part of the French (Antilles) West Indies. It serves as a landing point for multiple submarine cables, including ECFS, Southern Caribbean Fiber, Americas-II, and Kanawa.