Sean Goforth, Director of Research at Nearshore Americas, is among the speakers at a panel discussion on Cuba’s ICT infrastructure, scheduled to take place in Miami this month.
Titled “Cuba: How a Nation Comes Online”, the panel will explore the technology that currently exists in Cuba and how it is being used, along with the challenges to further technological development in the island and the potential opportunities that such development would create.
The panel is part of the Social Media Week Miami Conference scheduled to be held September 16-18 in Miami. According to organizers, the conversation will also focus on the availability of technology and access to social media platforms on the island.
Other speakers on the panel include freelance journalist Carlos Perez, Dr. Ted Henken, Associate Professor with City University of New York, Raul Moas, Executive Director of Roots of Hope, Gloria Ordaz, a TV presenter and Daniel Sepulveda, Ambassador of US Department of State.
Goforth is the author of Cuba’s Readiness for ICT Transformation, a 67-page report that analyzes Cuba’s telecommunications infrastructure and the strengths of the island’s IT workforce.
“We analyzed data to allow investors to make informed decisions about how to position for Cuba’s ICT development,” Goforth said referring to the Cuba report. As part of preparing the report, Nearshore Americas surveyed 317 Cuban IT professionals and interviewed dozens of Cuban entrepreneurs and officials in numerous state ministries.
“There is a tremendous curiosity about Cuba’s readiness in providing place for offering global services,” Goforth said. “But the reality is a large majority of Cubans have no access to Internet, and the Communist government is wary of allowing its people unfettered access to the Internet.”
“Cuba’s fixed-line telephone network is on par with that of other large Caribbean islands and many other Latin American countries. However, poor connectivity, slow Internet connection speeds and high costs are the issues,” he said.
According to the report, less than 4% of Cubans enjoy legally authorized Internet connections in their homes. Most of those who do access the Internet do so from work or school.
Goforth says the Communist regime is scared of the power of the Internet and social media; he notes that Havana blocks certain sites and monitors Cubans activity on the Web.
But he appreciates Cuba’s IT talent pool. “On the basis of our survey findings, we believe that Cuba possesses the largest surplus of IT talent in the Americas. They boast a formidable set of talents, from software testing to network and software development,” he added.