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Cuba: Internet access is expensive and limited

Since the Cuban government set the goal of implementing the Internet throughout the island by 2020, progress in this area has been slow and ineffective

Is the implementation of the Internet in Cuba failing?

Data from the Telecommunications Company of Cuba (ETECSA) and the Ministry of Communications of Cuba, collected by the Granma newspaper, show that there are "more than 5.9 million users with Internet access. 710 new 3G sites have been installed covering 65.8% of the population and there are 755 ETECSA wifi public sites". However, what they do not mention is that access to the Internet is not free, it is expensive, and it is controlled and monitored by the Government, as described in the El Nuevo Dia website .

Leer en español: Cuba: el acceso a Internet es costoso y controlado por el gobierno

In addition, according to the media cited, the Cuban who wants to connect must do so in the more than 630 navigation rooms arranged by the Government. To navigate, you will have to pay a Cuban peso for one hour of service. This is a high sum if you take into account that the minimum wage is 30 Cuban pesos, that is, 30 dollars. "An estimated 2.7 million Cubans were activated on social networks last year", says El Nuevo Dia.

What it is analyzed is that the Government is interpreting those 5.9 million users with Internet access, based on Cubans who have created emails, social media accounts, and who surf sporadically by downloading music or chatting on different platforms such as WhatsApp. However, it is not being considered that these figures could be much lower, due to the fact that the access is not economic and neither during the 24 hours for the Cubans.

"If the citizens cannot connect due to the high price of the service, nothing is done." Optimizing the infrastructure to reduce the cost considerably is fundamental, it is contradictory that wages in Cuba are the lowest in the world and the price of connectivity the highest", says Jorge Luis, a Cuban communication student to Cibercuba.

"We could have been really connected for a while, they have rained pretexts to delay the access of the population to the most modern technologies and that only shows a resistance to change. The decisions of our leaders stop us more than the ability to generate solutions", a Cuban computer engineer adds to Cibercuba.

Internet access in the style of China and North Korea

The price that must be paid for the Internet service, the slowness in the implementation of public plans for people, and the secrecy of the agreements between Cuba and Google, among other companies, as reported by Deutsche Welle of Germany, have led to Opposition to a conclusion: that the government will convert Internet access in public if it can have full control over it, just as the governments of China and North Korea do.

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In China, as El Tiempo points out, it has its own social media and there is no WhatsApp but WeChat. The Internet, whether public or paid, is controlled by the Chinese Government, through the Communist Party of China, a reason that could be related to that of Cuba.

The same goes for North Korea. In this country, according to a report by Internet security research companies known by the Huffington Post, "North Koreans with external internet access actively participate in Western and popular social networks, regularly read international news, use many of the same services, like streaming video and online games".

However, as described by Huffington Post, of the 25 million North Koreans, only 2 million can access the Internet and it is the upper middle class. They are monitored by the Government, through the "Red Star" operating system. You cannot access the Internet from mobile phones, nor can you make international calls and have your own Netflix where there are only movies made exclusively by the Government. Although it is more radical, in Cuba it is the Government that controls the Internet and imposes barriers, for now, limiting its use with high costs.

 

LatinAmerican Post I Edwin Guerrero Nova
Translated from “¿Está fracasando la implementación del Internet en Cuba?”

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