FCC Opens Doors to Cuba for U.S. Telecom Carriers

Cuba, the last remaining country on the FCC’s Exclusion List, was removed by the International Bureau this month.  The “Exclusion List for International Section 214 Authorizations” was adopted in 1996, in accordance with the FCC’s 1996 Streamlining Order, which implemented new rules that permitted applicants to obtain international Section 214 authority for global facilities-based services, rather than country-specific authority.  Applicants seeking to provide facilities-based service between the U.S. and Cuba were required to file a separate application that would be processed on a non-streamlined basis.  

This change follows the State Department’s recommendation and subsequent public notice from the FCC released in November 2015, which sought comment on removing Cuba from the Exclusion List.  All comments filed were in support of Cuba’s removal.  The FCC said in its Order that removing Cuba “benefits the public interest as it will likely alleviate administrative and cost burdens on both the applicant and the Commission, and promote competition on the U.S.-Cuba route.”