Friday, October 24, 2014

Users Bothered By Increase in Internet Prices at Presidente Hotel

Users Bothered By Increase in Internet Prices at Presidente Hotel /14ymedio
Posted on October 24, 2014

14YMEDIO, Havana, 24 October 2014 — Jorge Suarez has been connecting to
the Internet for six months at the Presidente Hotel. In recent weeks he
has seen an increase in the number of clients who use the wireless
connection of the central Havana lodging. Nevertheless, some days ago he
got a bitter surprise when the employees informed him of an increase in
the price of the service. The measure was not due to a regulation by the
Cuban Telecommunications Enterprise (ETECSA) but due to a decision by
the management of the place.

The management of the Presidente Hotel has decided to increase the
service to 8.50 convertible pesos since it has required a minimum
purchase of 4 CUC in the cafeteria of the place, to which is added the
price of an hour of Internet connection which is 4.50 CUC. The decision
is aimed at decreasing the number of people who show up daily to their
facility to navigate the web or check their email. "These people were
filling us up, and that is not good for tourists," says a cleaning lady
who prefers to remain anonymous.

While most places that offer the navigation service keep the cost at
4.50 convertible pesos per hour, the Presidente Hotel has invoked the
"discretionary" rate. Clients confirm that before the increase in
connection costs, the service had been deteriorating, and most of the
time at the desk they said that "there were no internet cards to sell."

Jorge Suarez tells how he was losing confidence in being able to access
the network from the well-known hotel establishment. "I knew that they
were going to do something to hinder the connection, because every day
the workers in this place looked with harsher faces at those of us who
came and sat on the terrace or in the lobby with a laptop or a tablet,"
he explains. "They told us that we had to make a purchase to be able to
be here, but the prices of everything in this place are through the roof."

The young man, a civil engineering graduate, has no other means of
viewing digital sites or answering his email. "I would prefer internet
in my home, I only come here because I cannot access a home connection."
The measure implemented in the Presidente Hotel leaves him without any
options. "The price before already seemed expensive to me, but the new
one is simply beyond reach," he says with frustration.

According to official statistics in Cuba – with a population of more
than 11 million inhabitants – there are 1,014,000 computers and more
than 2.9 million internet users. The figure, nevertheless, has been
questioned by those who assert that as "internet users" the government
includes people who only have access to a national intranet with health
or cultural content.

Cuba is the least connected country in Latin America, in spite of the
fact that in February 2011 a fiber optic cable was installed between
Venezuela and the east side of the island, which at first was announced
as the best option for guaranteeing the highest connectivity in the
country. Three years later, the government has only opened something
more than a hundred public navigation places and offered an email
service via mobile phones.

Cubans like Jorge Suarez keep waiting to become web surfers.

Translated by MLK

Source: Users Bothered By Increase in Internet Prices at Presidente
Hotel /14ymedio | Translating Cuba -

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