Direct phone connections to Cuba on way

1920s-telephone-advertAn agreement to build a direct telephone connection between the United States and Cuba has been inked, Cuba’s national telecom provider announced.

The US-based IDT reached an agreement with Cuba’s Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA) to provide direct international long distance telephony.

This marks the first finalised agreement between companies from the two countries since the joint December 17 announcement by U.S. President Barack Obama and his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro that they would restore diplomatic relations.

“The re-establishment of direct communications between the United States and Cuba will help offer greater ease and quality of communications between the people of both nations,” ETECSA said in a statement.

Phone communication between the two countries was only possible with with calls passing through third countries.

Obama used his executive authority to ease some of the travel and trade restrictions on Cuba and has asked the Congress to lift the embargo completely. Such legislation was introduced in the Senate but has been opposed by the Republicans, hoping to pick up the dissident Cuban ex-pat vote in Florida.