Updated 10:39 AM EST, Thu, Jan 20, 2022

Cuba Finally Ready for Internet Revolution? Home Broadband Services in the Works

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Certain parts of Cuba are finally getting connected with the worldwide web, as the Central American government revealed plans on launching residential Internet services to homes in two areas in Havana.

According to the Associated Press as cited by the Verge, the country's state-run telecommunications company known as ETECSA, will soon be able to provide residents with Internet access in two Havana neighborhoods.

Thanks to a partnership between the Telecommunications Company of Cuba (ETECSA) and Chinese telecom company Huawei, fiber optic connections will soon be available to selected Cuban homes in the capital.

Among the two communities included in the pilot program is the popular tourist destination, Old Havana, which is known as the colonial center.

ETECSA Havana director Odalys Rodríguez del Toro also told the Associated Press that they will also allow establishments like cafes and restaurants to order broadband service for their customers.

He revealed that within this year, there will be a total of 30 more Wi-Fi hotspots to be opened in the Cuban capital alone.

The Havana director did not say when all this could happen, but the news is very welcome among the residents of Cuba, since they live in "one of the least connected countries" in the world, according to Mashable.  

Before this momentous development was revealed, Internet in Cuba has become "the greatest obstacle," per the Mashable report.

In fact, the outlet noted that only about 25 percent of the entire Cuban population had access to the information super-highway based on a 2011 record from the state National Statistics Office.

What is more surprising is that this statistic encompasses an even smaller percentage of about five percent of Cuban residents who have access to open Internet, which costs about $2 per hour.

Also, the current connections cannot even be considered decent, as they still run on dial-up connections, which have become obsolete since the coming of the fiber optic connections.

"When they do access the Internet, they try to do really the bare minimum," Freedom House Latin America Senior Program Officer Cynthia Romero explained to Mashable.

Cubans have had to find a creative way to get information, despite how little information it may be.

"With such limited access, Cubans have employed more creative methods of surfing. One of the most popular is for people to download online articles onto thumb drives, then pass them around to friends and family," Mashable explained.

According to BBC, the move from the Cuban government was in response to U.S. President Barack Obama's call for better services and improved tourism conditions in the Caribbean country as the U.S.-Cuba relations continue to warm up.

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