Wi-Fi hotspots in Cuba Create Strong Demand for Internet Access

by Alexandre MeneghiniSarah Marsh of Reuters

The introduction of Wi-Fi hotspots in Cuban public spaces two years ago has transformed the Communist-run island that had been mostly offline. Nearly half the population of 11 million connected at least once last year.

That has whet Cubans’ appetite for better and cheaper access to the internet.

“A lot has changed,” said Maribel Sosa, 54, after standing for an hour with her daughter at the corner of a park in Havana, video chatting with her family in the United States, laughing and gesticulating at her phone’s screen.

She recalled how she used to queue all night to use a public telephone to speak with her brother for a few minutes after he emigrated to Florida in the 1980s.

Given the relative expense of connecting to the internet, Cubans use it mostly to stay in touch with relatives and friends. Although prices have dropped, the $1.50 hourly tariff represents 5 percent of the average monthly state salary of $30.

One thought on “Wi-Fi hotspots in Cuba Create Strong Demand for Internet Access

  1. ETECSA had started a pilot test of the Mobile Internet service. It will be free of charge for clients of prepaid mobile telephony.

    Clients must have the APN Nauta configured and activate the data use on their cell phones.

    Some users commented that the speed is equivalent to a 2G connection of some countries outside Cuba.

    For access to the internet on cell phones it is essential to have 3G technology, which started functioning in Cuba in 2017 and currently is available in Havana and each province’s principal cities, as well as in the tourist destinations to the north of the island (Varadero, Villa Clara and Ciego de Avila keys), according to ETECSA.

    The internet service on mobiles has been announced for a long time by the company, but up to now it is not known when it will be established for all clients or what the rates will be.

    “For clients to enjoy this technology they must first have a 3G coverage and their cell phone’s terminal must be compatible with the WCDMA standard in the 900 MHz frequency, which is an international norm used by several countries in Europe and Latin America,” ETECSA has recognized.

    In Cuba there are a total of 6.5 million telephone lines, of which more than 5 million are cell phones. Meanwhile, of these more than a million use the Nauta email service.


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