Cuba to launch home Internet service pilot program

Cuba’s state-run telecommunications company ETECSA on Tuesday announced it will provide a household Internet service pilot program by the end of the year.

The program will connect about 2,000 users in Havana’s Old Quarter, where the company has already installed fiber optic equipment acquired from China’s telecommunications giant Huawei, local media reported.

Residents in the area have been hooked up to the recently installed telephone and Internet network, ETECSA’s head of marketing and communications, Eudes Monier, told the Cuban News Agency.

Monier said service rates and connection speeds have yet to be set.

After being approved by the government, only Cuban doctors, journalists and other key professionals now have Internet service at home.

Cuba says this reflects the island’s limited infrastructure as a result of US-led sanctions.

The United States and Cuba resumed diplomatic relations in July 2015, ending more than five decades of enmity. But the United States still maintains its embargo against Cuba.

“By 2017, ETECSA also plans to offer Internet connection on mobile devices, a common demand of the Cuban population that is not yet available,” Monier said.

Cuba currently has just over 1,000 hotspots for Internet access in parks, recreational areas and sporting venues around the country.

Cubans pay about two US dollars an hour for web access. The amount is too high for many as the average salary for a state employee is around 24 dollars a month.

Source:Xinhua, Global Times

October 26, 2016

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