By  Cara McGoogan, The Telegraph
April 27, 2017

Google has become the first foreign internet company to launch a service in Cuba, raising hopes of reform in one of the world's most cut-off countries.

The internet giant opened a new data centre in Cuba yesterday where it will store information such as popular YouTube videos.

In a move that indicates Cuba is opening its doors to modernisation and greater access to information, the on-island servers will make it easier for Cuban people to access Google's services.

Until now information from across the internet had to travel to the island through a submarine cable from Venezuela, making the connection very slow. But now the Google servers will be able to store content such as videos that are traffic-intensive in order to make it easier for inhabitants to view it.

When Google announced the plan at the end of last year, it said Cuban people “can expect to see an improvement in terms of quality of service and reduced for cached latency”.

It has been hailed as a step forward for Cuba, which has severely restricted internet access that is controlled by the state.

“It is a milestone as this is the first time an outside internet company has hosted anything in Cuba,” said Doug Madory, director of Dyn Research, which broke the news that the servers had been turned on. “I think this will be very noticeable for Cubans.”

However, the benefits will only reach Cubans who already have access to the internet.

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