Obama reveals Google's internet plan for Cuba

The US President is in the midst of a historic three-day visit to the country...

Obama reveals Google's internet plan for Cuba

Cuban President Raul Castro, left, shakes hands with U.S. President Barack Obama. Picture by: Ramon Espinosa / AP/Press Association Images

US President Barack Obama has confirmed that Google has a deal to improve internet access in Cuba.

Speaking to ABC News prior to his trip to Havana – the first time a US President has visited Cuba in 88 years – Obama noted how proper internet access is vital for bringing about economic and democratic changes on the island.

"One of the things that we’ll be announcing here is that Google has a deal to start setting up more WiFi access and broadband access on the island. Change is going to happen here, and I think (Cuban leader) Raúl Castro understands that.

"Over time, if in fact, we start seeing access to the internet, which is necessary for Cuba to enter into the 21st century economically, invariably that gives the Cuban people more information and allows them to have more of a voice".

Fewer than 5% of Cubans have internet access at home currently. Google will offer competition to the state-owned ISP and should help to lower prices.

The general public has only had access to broadband internet since early 2015, when WiFi hotspots finally opened up.

Typically, the service costs $2 an hour – one-tenth of the average Cuban's monthly salary.

Obama met with Castro at the Palace of the Revolution on Monday morning, with the pair scheduled to hold a joint news conference later on today.

Trade will be discussed, with issues such as freedom of expression likely to be raised by Obama.