Cuba to expand internet access to homes in 2014

25 Jun 2013

Cuba’s state-owned telecoms monopoly Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA) plans to begin offering internet connections to residential consumers by late 2014, in a significant step towards increasing access to the World Wide Web on the island. ‘We’re thinking of reaching homes with ADSL technology. We’re trying to drop telephone access, since besides its poor quality, the telephone network is not designed for this kind of access,’ ETECSA’s director of strategic programmes, Jorge Legra, told Agencia EFE. Earlier this month the government began offering internet access at 118 ETECSA outlets around the island, although at CUC4.50 (USD4.50) per hour, browsing the web is still priced well beyond the reach of the average Cuban. Until then, the internet was only available at select state institutions and to tourists at around 200 hotels around the island, but the recent activation of Cuba’s first submarine cable, which connects the island to Venezuela with a link to Jamaica, has lessened the country’s dependence on expensive and slow satellite connections. ‘Expanding connectivity services in the country is in line with the strategy set by Cuba to further facilitate the population’s access to new technologies, depending on the availability of resources and with an approach that favours its social use,’ a statement in the Granma newspaper said at the time of the cable’s activation in January this year.