Google is proposing to upgrade Cuba's Internet access — and an executive is heading to the Communist-controlled island this weekend as a part of that effort, according to the U.S. State Department.
"We don’t know what they’ve proposed, but we do know they’ve proposed something," the State Department official, who asked not to be named, told Politico.
The search-engine giant made its proposal to the Cuban government. The plan comes after President Barack Obama’s December announcement of a thaw in relations and the recent pledge by Raúl Castro's government to bring Internet access to all Cubans by 2020.
Brett Perlmutter, a New York-based Google executive, is a member of the company’s Ideas division that seeks to help solve some of the world's largest technology problems, according to Politico.
Perlmutter will spend five days in Havana with about a dozen other U.S. business representatives and "will focus on helping the Cuban government think through their publicly-stated goal of improving Internet access," a Google spokesperson said.
The company, based in Menlo Park, Calif., declined to disclose its other efforts in Cuba. The trip is being organized by the Council of the Americas, a trade group founded a half-century ago by David Rockefeller, according to Politico.
About 5 percent of Cuba's population has Internet access, and extremely few have cellphone service, Politico reports.
State Department officials said other technology companies have shown interest in working to upgrade the island’s 2G wireless coverage.
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