Cuba's ETECSA to broaden Internet access reach

Cuba's consumers may have more ways to get Internet access as the government announced that its monopoly telco will begin offering service at 118 outlets next month.

A decree in the government's Official Gazette said the country's telecom provider Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA) will offer Internet services at its offices and possibly other locations at a later point.

Yohandry Fontana, a blogger who writes about the Cuban government, said in a Reuters article that "Maybe it will take a while but the next step is to connect Cubans from their houses."

Today, unrestricted Internet access is only available in select institutions and to tourists at 200 luxury hotels. Only 2.6 million of Cuba's 11.2 million citizens can get Internet access, and those that can may only view state-controlled websites.

Another element that will likely help the country's Internet access capabilities is the installation of the ALBA-1 submarine cable connecting Cuba with Venezuela. Completed in 2011, ALBA-1 only began carrying traffic this January. Cuba used satellite connections to access the Internet before the cable went into service.

Despite the promise of expanding the Internet to more locations, the $4.50 per hour price for Internet browsing is far too expensive for the average Cuban resident making about $20 a month.

For more:
- Reuters has this article

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