Sunday, June 23, 2013

Cuba Plans Internet in Homes by Late 2014

Cuba Plans Internet in Homes by Late 2014

HAVANA – Cuba's state-run telecom company ETECSA plans to begin offering
in-home Internet connections by late 2014, a director of the company said.

"We're thinking of reaching homes with ADSL technology. We're trying to
drop telephone access, since besides its poor quality, the telephone
network is not designed for this kind of access," Jorge Legra, ETECSA
director of strategic programs, said.

"We could be talking about the last quarter of 2014," Legra said, adding
that the service will first be available in areas of the country that
have the right technical facilities to make the connection.

In Cuba, with its 15 percent Internet access, the vast majority of
inhabitants cannot go online at home, a privilege reserved for
professionals like doctors, journalists, academics, intellectuals and

The island government grants "social" Internet use at certain public
establishments, and has traditionally blamed access problems on the U.S.
embargo, a policy that forces Cuba to access the Web through a satellite
connection that makes it all very slow and expensive.

However, since an undersea fiber-optic cable linking the communist-ruled
island with Venezuela and Jamaica was activated in 2011, Cuba's
government has proceeded to increase the number of public places with
online access and to expand services.

On June 14, 118 new Internet establishments were opened in the country
where, through the national portal Nauta, permanent or temporary
accounts were made available for e-mail access, online navigating and
other services.

The cost of these services is, however, extremely high for a Cuban's
budget. In a country where the average monthly wage is less than $20, an
hour online at an Internet establishment costs 4.5 convertible pesos
(CUC, the stronger currency of the two circulating in Cuba and the
equivalent of $1.00).

The ETECSA director of strategic programs acknowledged that the chief
concern of users is the high price of these services, and said the
intention is to gradually make the rate more affordable.

Source: "Latin American Herald Tribune - Cuba Plans Internet in Homes by
Late 2014" -

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