HAVANA: A direct telephone interconnection between Cuba and the U.S. has been established for the first time in 15 years, initially to service international voice calls, as set out in a services agreement signed between Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba SA (ETECSA) and an American company, IDT Telecom, Inc. (IDT).
Americans and Cubans will now be able to make direct calls to each other’s countries. Until now, telephone calls have passed through a third country, making them extremely expensive.
It is the first agreement signed by the two countries since the announcement last December that the two nations would renew diplomatic ties.
“The re-establishment of direct communications between the United States and Cuba contributes to providing better infrastructure and better communications quality between the people and our two countries,” said ETECSA.
“We are very pleased to have reached this groundbreaking agreement with ETECSA,” said Bill Pereira, chief executive officer of IDT Telecom, the U.S. counterpart of ETECSA. “This is an important first step in the liberalization of telecommunications between the U.S. and Cuba. Ultimately, the agreement will help make it easier and more affordable for our customers to call friends and family in Cuba.”