FCC's Carr Calls for 'Net Version of TV Martí to Connect Cubans

Brendan Carr
(Image credit: C-SPAN)

FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr has added his voice to that of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who are calling on the Biden Administration to allow private industry to get internet access to Cubans being denied that access by the Cuban government amidst protests there.

"“Governor DeSantis’s call for the Biden Administration to provide the necessary support for American businesses to deliver Internet service to the Cuban people is exactly right," said Carr. "While Cuba’s communist regime is blocking Internet access in an effort to hide their brutal crackdown on freedom, American enterprises have the technical capability to beam connectivity to the Cuban people and help power their real and ongoing struggle for life and liberty. With the backing and authorization of the federal government, these private sector innovators can get to work immediately.

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Carr's statement followed letters to the President from both Rubio and DeSantis.

"I urge the administration to immediately authorize and allocate additional funding to provide internet to Cuba using the existing capacity of innovative American firms and readily available funding sources," Rubio told the President in a letter this week. "In addition, the administration should move to shore up democracy broadcasting, internet access and programming through the Office of Cuba Broadcasting."

In his own letter to the President, DeSantis said that Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel has "shut off" internet access to the world could not see the people taking to the streets to protest the Communist regime.

The U.S. government has, for decades, broadcast news to Cuba via TV and Radio Martí, and DeSantis said that history now argues for using the internet to provide a means for the Cuban people to speak to the world. DeSantis called on the President to act immediately, provide authorization and indemnifications and funding for private companies to provide internet access. He said such access could be key to finally bringing Democracy to Cuba.

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Carr also pointed to that effort in his statement of support for the push for internet access. "[I]t is imperative that the U.S. immediately expand our efforts on behalf of the Cuban people," he said. "Radio Televisión Martí, run by the U.S. Agency for Global Media, has broadcast news and information into Cuba since the 1980s. Radio Televisión Martí continues to broadcast and deliver messages of freedom to the people of Cuba. It is time to build on this model and include the delivery of Internet service."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.