The Cuban government will respond to demands for better internet access by introducing Wi-Fi signals in 35 public spaces and lowering the cost of logging onto the web from US$4.50 to US$2 per hour.
According to Associated Press reports, the state plans to add Wi-Fi to 35 government-run computer centres across Cuba, a country where internet access is tightly controlled and illegal in most homes. In fact, the communist island has one of the lowest internet usage rates in the world. Though a huge development, the price remains unaffordable for most of the population, while according to Reuters, each spot would only be able to handle around 50 to 100 users, with a speed of one megabyte a second for each.
“The internet space is opening up here and I think this is a significant step,” said Norges Rodriguez, a blogger and telecommunications engineer in Havana. “A year or two ago, we didn’t have anything like this.”
The announcement – published in Thursday’s (18 June) edition of the newspaper Juventud Rebelde – comes on the back of last December’s move by US President Barack Obama to normalise the US’ relations with Cuba. Obama had revealed that the Cuban government had promised it would give its people more access as part of a historic agreement between the two nations.
Havana image via Shutterstock