Cuba Announces Old Havana Test Project for Home Internet

Huawei has apparently reached an agreement with Etecsa.
Huawei has apparently reached an agreement with Cuba’s Etecsa.

HAVANA TIMES — Cuban authorities will begin testing later this year in two neighborhoods of Old Havana to allow Internet access from homes, something previously prohibited for ordinary citizens, reported dpa news.

This year, the state telecommunications monopoly, ETECSA, will launch a “pilot test” in two neighborhoods of Old Havana, the Cuban News Agency (ACN) informed on Sunday.

Test connections will be carried out “with fiber optical cable through an agreement with China’s Huawei Corporation,” said the text, which did not disclose the price of the service.

The information does not specify when exactly the project will begin, only that it is part of a further improvement of Internet access in Cuba, which has one of the lowest connectivity rates in the world.

According to figures from the UN agency International Telecommunication Union (ITU), in 2013 only 3.4 percent of Cuban households were connected to the Internet, most of them with an extremely slow dial-up connection.

The government of Raul Castro said it gives priority to “social and public use” of the Internet. Meanwhile, international organizations and government opponents accuse the authorities of restricting access to the network for political reasons.

More Pay-for Wifi Hot Spots in Havana

Etecsa plans to create another 30 areas for pay-for wireless Internet access in the capital in public parks, according to the announcement. Odalys Rodriguez, the company director for Havana, also said that in the future Etecsa plans to offer Internet access to cafes, bars and restaurants that request the service.

Etecsa began offering the Wi-Fi service at Havana parks or public squares in July of last year, since expanded to all provinces. The price is 2 CUC (2.30 USD) per hour, ten percent of an average wage in Cuba.

Etecsa also offers limited email access from mobile phones.


4 thoughts on “Cuba Announces Old Havana Test Project for Home Internet

  • The AP press release speaks of fiber, but I would be surprised if they are talking about fiber to the premises — hybrid fiber/copper is more likely. They also said they would being allowing cafes, bars and restaurants to begin ordering broadband service. No dates, speeds or prices were given.

    I have also heard from a reader that some casas particulares are offering Internet connectivity in Havana, but I do not know how they are connected or at what speed and cost.

    I’ve also read of a plan for wireless connectivity around the University of Havana:

  • Maybe when Obama & Raul have their golf game (no idea if Raul is a golfer) Obama will turn over the keys to Guantanamo and that new $70 mil high speed cable. (haha-nice dream, eh?)

  • It’s the internet for chrissakes! Not exactly a new idea. What is it that needs to be tested?

  • “Later this year!” This is unbelievable AND just two small Havana neighborhoods.

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