Cuba’s state-owned telecoms operator Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA) has confirmed that 358 customers have opted to subscribe to its nascent residential fixed broadband service, following the end of a two-month free trial. Local newspaper Granma cites the firm’s Marketing Director Tania Velazquez as saying that the ADSL home internet service will be gradually rolled out to other parts of the country, reaching around 38,000 households in the initial phase. ETECSA piloted residential broadband connections for around 2,000 users in the Catedral and Plaza Vieja areas of Old Havana for a period of two months from December last year to the end of February. ETECSA is now offering the users the opportunity to subscribe to the service on a more permanent basis, with speeds of between 128kbps and 2Mbps available, although the entry-level rate will soon be increased to 256kbps at no additional cost.
ETECSA has also revealed that it ended December 2016 with a total of five million telephony lines, including four million mobile connections, while the number of public internet access locations had increased to 1,157 last year, of which 317 are public Wi-Fi hotspots. During 2016 the company rolled out an additional 14 GSM and 99 3G base stations across the country, increasing the totals to 829 and 229, respectively. ETECSA added that it plans to enable 3G mobile data services for local citizens ‘in the coming weeks’.