Obama Builds Tech Bridge to Cuba
by Chloe Albanesius
What better way to ease relations with Cuba than iPhones, Twitter, and satellite TV?
President Obama on Monday unveiled a plan that will allow U.S. residents to send cell phones, computers, satellite receivers, and more to friends and family in Cuba, and also allow U.S. telecom companies to do business in the country.
Obama has "directed that steps be taken to enable the freer flow of information among the Cuban people and between those in Cuba and the rest of the world, as well as to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian items directly to the Cuban people," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday.
U.S. citizens will be able to send or receive "donated personal communications devices" like cell phones, computers, software, and satellite receivers. The move expands on an announcement made by former President George Bush in May 2008 that allowed U.S. citizens to send cell phones only.
In addition, U.S. telecom companies will be able to enter into agreements to provide fiber-optic cable or satellite links between the U.S. and Cuba. Wireless providers will also be allowed to set up roaming service agreements with Cuban service providers, while U.S. satellite radio and TV providers would also be allowed to offer their services.
Meanwhile, Cubans would be able to obtain licenses – subject to U.S. jurisdiction – to activate and pay for telecom, satellite radio and TV services provided by U.S. carriers. Senior Communist Party and Cuban government officials would not be allowed to participate.
article posted by Jasmine