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U.S. announces Cuba telecom plan; cable preps for Gigabit broadband

In telecom news, U.S. telecom providers will be able to expand to Cuba, while the cable industry tests Gigabit broadband services.

This week in telecom news, the White House announced its U.S.-Cuba relations initiative, which includes a telecom plan to allow U.S. providers to expand their services to the island nation. In addition, the cable industry is advancing its reach into gigabit broadband services with a DOCSIS 3.1 interoperability test.

The newly spun off Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise has plans to double its $876 million annual revenue over the next five years with the help of new owner Huaxin. Huaxin plans to invest in the company to help expand its international reach and break into the service provider market.

Telecom plan part of U.S.-Cuba reform

U.S. telecom providers can expand their operations to Cuba as part of a new initiative to reform U.S.-Cuba relations, the White House announced.

The Obama administration hopes to expand Internet access in Cuba, which has an Internet penetration of 5%. Cuba has limited telecom services, the cost of which are "exorbitantly high," according to a White House statement.

In 2007, Alcatel-Lucent laid $70 million of fiber optic cable between Venezuela and Cuba, which was initially only used to connect the countries' governments. The connection was turned on in 2013, but only sends inbound traffic to Cuba.

With this telecom plan, providers will be allowed to export products and services including communications devices, software, applications and services to Cuban residents. Providers will also be allowed to "establish the necessary mechanisms, including infrastructure, in Cuba to provide commercial telecommunications and internet services," according to the White House.

Cable industry preps for Gigabit broadband

The cable industry is making its move into fiber-to-the-home and Gigabit services with the completion of the DOCSIS 3.1 interoperability test.

DOCSIS 3.1 promises to deliver speeds up to 10 Gbps on the hybrid fiber-coaxial network. The test included cable vendors, converged cable access platforms and test and measurement equipment focused on physical labor connectivity, according to a press release from CableLabs, the cable industry's research and development group. The test examined product interoperability and was deemed successful.

"The success of this first DOCSIS 3.1 [interoperability test] validates that multi-Gigabit services will soon be a reality for cable broadband customers,” said Tom Lookabaugh, chief research and development officer at CableLabs. "Operators around the world can now look forward to a new generation of capabilities added to their DOCSIS-based networks."

In addition to faster broadband speeds, DOCSIS 3.1 also promises a better quality of experience, higher network capacity and cable modem energy efficiency.

Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise pledges to double revenue

Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise's new owner Huaxin announced its goal to double the annual revenue of the networking and communications vendor over the next five years.

Alcatel-Lucent sold its struggling Enterprise subsidiary to Huaxin, a Chinese technology investment company, for $254 million in October. Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise CEO Michel Emelianoff told employees that Huaxin is prepared to invest $250 million to $375 million in the company over five years, with no plans to lay off the company's 2,800 employees, according to Fierce Telecom.

To compete with vendors like Cisco and Microsoft, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise plans to establish partnerships with companies in the U.S., Russia, the Middle East and China. The vendor is branching out from providing equipment to providing cloud and mobility services, including the recent launch of its OpenTouch Suite platform.

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