HAVANA TIMES — After the presidents of Cuba and the United States announced that diplomatic relations between the two countries may be re-established, we have seen much speculation among average Cubans, and many of the hopes people considered lost appear to have been regained.
If Cuban television had a space that reflected the sincere feelings of these individuals (who are not usually heard in the mass media), an interesting series on the issue could now be on the air.
Without a doubt, a very thorny issue is Internet access. This comes to mind now, after the US Internet TV series and film channel Netflix published an announcement saying that Cuba could become the 8th Latin American country with access to this service…were it to set up a better broad-band infrastructure.
I was immediately reminded of our USB-drive-based series, film and software distribution channel, the renowned “weekly package.”
We thus arrive at the problem announced in the title: how would this First World opportunity (a subscription to Netflix) affect the people who put together the package? Will it affect regular customers, who till now have paid only 2 CUC (US $ 1.80) for 1 terabyte of information a week?
It is a question of math. Below are the figures for you to solve the problem in your free time.
The cheapest Netflix package costs US $7.99 a month (the same rate that applies in the United States). This subscription, of course, would be paid through an account in a US bank operating in Cuba. You would then have to add the price of an Internet connection. Having no way of knowing how much it will cost in the future, I will use the current price offered by Cuba’s phone company, ETECSA: 4.50 CUC (US $ 5.05) the hour.
In this hypothetical chapter of the public debate series that isn’t being aired on Cuban television, we would also be presented with statistics related to the number of Cubans who have computers (let alone intelligent TVs), a landline and extraordinarily well-paying jobs, with which they would be able to afford this entertainment service.
Current figures are roughly as follows: in 2013, there were 90 computers for every thousand inhabitants, 939,500 land-lines in the residential sector and 245,100 people working in construction, the best-paying sector in Cuba.
After having presented this information, the participants of this hypothetical debate would have a long discussion that would bring the chapter to an end, but not before an announcement to the effect that, in the next episode, after hearing the government’s position on the issue, a conclusion would be arrived at.
In the meantime, while everything I’ve outlined above continues to be mere speculation, in other words, illusions will continue to bubble up in the minds of many Cubans – the distortion of a sense perception that was once similar to hope.