As published in WPLG Local 10, “Cuba has some of the lowest levels of connectivity worldwide. The government’s ETECSA runs a telecommunications monopoly. And when Google offered to improve the island’s Internet infrastructure free of charge, Raul Castro turned them away.”
Local 10 went on to tell the story of local Havana Tour Guide, Enrique Santaballa, who earns about $15 a month. According to the Miami based news station who has been conducting a series of special reports from inside Cuba, Santaballa uses the internet “to stay in touch with his mom, who is in Nicaragua.” In order to access the web, “he has to ride a cab for about 30 minutes, make a long line and pay a $2-an-hour charge.”
“If I had more money, I would use it [the Internet] every day,” Santaballa said. “At least because I want to know about my mom.”
Local 10 goes on to describe how this past July, “Cuba for the first time opened 35 Wi-Fi access areas across the nation” while mentioning Cuban comedian Robertico’s recent commentary on ETECSA’s poor choice in Wi-Fi hotspot locations which are “not equipped for the crowds.”
“Everyone sits on the sidewalk. Everyone sits on the stairs, over pipes. They lean on bus stops and on cars. It’s craziness,” he said. “Instead of adding Wi-Fi at the Malecon, where there is a large sitting area and a seat for everybody.” A seat for everybody would be nice, but open, uncensored internet access available everywhere and for everybody, at a price every Cuban can afford, is still the ultimate goal.
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