Cuba Denies It Will Allow Home Internet

Etecsa: Forget about home Internet for now. Photo: Raquel Perez

HAVANA TIMES — Cuba’s state monopoly telephone company, Etecsa, today denied reports that the island will offer Internet access for home users in the coming months, reported dpa news.

The company said that false news has been circulating in recent days. “This is “untrue and misinforms people.”

Different websites reported recently that the government of Raul Castro plans to authorize citizens in the coming months to contract private Internet connection from their homes at very high prices.

Etecsa denied the information and noted that the tariffs apply only to companies and organizations. “Any information on the opening of this service to households will be duly communicated by the company,” it said in a press statement.

Cuba has one of the lowest Internet access levels in the world. The population of the island need special permission to contract private access from home, granted to a select number of officials, artists, diplomats or foreign companies. These old style dial-up connections also suffer from very poor transmission speed.

The best access is available at some tourist hotels but with prices averaging US $8.00 to $10.00 an hour.

In mid-2013 Etecsa opened over 100 cafes throughout the country that improved public access to a segment of the population.  Those capable of paying $5.00 per hour in a country where the average wage is $20 a month includes, to a large extent, those with family members abroad that send significant remittances.

The government accuses the economic embargo imposed by the United States for the bad internet access on the island. Castro detractors argue that the lack of connectivity owes to a restrictive government policy.

In mid-2013 Etecsa announced that a fiber optic cable laid two years earlier from Venezuela had finally become operative. However, despite improvements in infrastructure, service continues way below regional and international standards for access to the network.

The government argues it prioritizes “social objectives” for Internet access, meaning state institutions.


10 thoughts on “Cuba Denies It Will Allow Home Internet

  • March 19, 2014 at 10:22 am
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    The more you comment, the more you show how little you know about Cuba. The reality is that most Cubans know very little about what goes on inside Cuba and even less about what goes on around the world. I communicate almost daily with a handful of well-educated Cubans who live in Havana and in the provinces. It is not uncommon to share local and international news with them that they were completely not aware of. This information ‘blackout’ exists at all levels. From the latest telenovela scandal in Mexico to technology news in Cupertino to election news in Denmark, it is all less likely to be reported in Cuba.

  • March 19, 2014 at 7:47 am
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    JG you can’t be that naive.

    Fact: Cuba is an authoritarian government:

    Fact: Knowledge is power, therefore Cuba does not allow the dissemination of information it does not control.

    Fact: Cubans are ingenious enterprising people who find clever ways to “resolver”. Much information, including Wikipedia, and popular video’s are passed on hand to hand via thumb drives. A practice the Castro regime has found hard to control.

    Never the less it is true that the embargo does have a derogatory technical effect on internet connections in Cuba, specifically the use and updating of private software, such as adobe systems (which are currently illegally used in Cuba). However the real problem remains ideological: the control and access of information. The very recent Cuban public blog platform Reflejos http://cubava.cu/ prohibits “transferring, transmitting or publishing content that is illegal, counterrevolutionary, damaging, threatening….”

    The strategies for applying censorship on the government sites are diverse and at the total discretion of those administrating these spaces. Some government newspaper sites have gradually been opening up to public participation, with various degrees of freedom of expression. Nonetheless, Trabajadores, the newspaper of the Cuban Workers’ Central, prohibits access to the commentary section of its web page via Cuba’s Intranet, opening it up only to those who have connection to Internet.

    The web site “Envio” ( A sandinista web site) had this to say; “One source who wished not to be identified assured Havana Times that the Youth Computer Club he belongs to in an eastern province offers very limited connection time and no possibility of accessing Facebook. But if the user declares that his/her purpose in going into a web site, including Facebook, is to “speak well of the Revolution and the five heroes” (five Cuban agents accused of being spies who are in prison in the United States), he/she is granted unlimited time.”

    I hope that was clear JG

  • March 19, 2014 at 7:33 am
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    Most Cubans are badly informed, misinformed I would say. Especially in the rural areas the information blockade is still very strong. In larger cities and tourist areas the flow of information is stronger.

    Various polls have shown that the Castro regime has lost the support of most of the Cuban people as they think it can not get them out of the crisis.

    The reason Fidel Castro needs to control all news, deny all freedom of speech and reject free and fair elections is because the regime knows it doesn’t have the support of the majority of Cubans. If not, they wouldn’t bother.

  • March 18, 2014 at 9:13 pm
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    You cannot POSSIBLY be claiming that the Cuban people , in general, do not know exactly what is going on both in and outside of their country.
    Certainly most of the people whose writings appear at HT are far more knowledgeable than the average U.S. citizen around me. .
    Maybe these HT writers are all government-educated stooges and do not represent the real Castro-hating Cuban majority you dream about.
    Just to waste some of my time, I’ll repeat what you are just going to have to ignore again and for the umpteenth time: and that is that the U.S. is WAGING AN EFFECTIVE ECONOMIC WAR on Cuba that necessitates prioritizing essentials much as any country at war must do to survive.
    Internet connection is a very valuable educational tool and the Cubans like few other societies understand and value the importance of education.
    The embargo is preventing the spending of war-scarce resources on what is not an essential for life or survival .
    Your next-to-last sentence was garbled
    Sober up or proofread so your thinking and typing are clearer .
    Can we edit this stuff later?

  • March 18, 2014 at 2:25 pm
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    You are correct in that it is “quite deliberate”…a deliberate attempt to control the Cuban population. It’s what dictatorships do. So stop with your socialist drivel about distribution and a decent life, the Castro’s have never cared for such a thing. And besides as you continue to point out Cuba is not socialist (or is it only socialist when it’s convenient to your argument?)

    The real reason Cuba has the worst internet penetration in the western hemisphere is that Cuba is an authoritarian country that needs to control the flow of news and information. It’s the same reason Cuba doesn’t want blogs Havana Times from being seen. …Now why is that JG?

  • March 18, 2014 at 10:39 am
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    Here’s an answer for you::
    Cuba has a socialist -style means of distributing the essential goods and services required for a decent life.
    Cuba is also under economic attack by the U.S. and as a result , its resources; those goods and services are considerably reduced .
    This means the government must choose its priorities and will always spend what is needed for the essentials of life: food, housing, health care, education, safety and not so much on non-essentials like internet service.
    Haiti has better computer service because it is a capitalist country and the rich there can buy whatever they want.
    The bulk of the very poor Haitian people could NEVER afford a computer or the cost of computer service .
    The rich Haitians are not sharing their computers and computer service with their poor neighbors while computer cafes and such allow access to a computer to a much higher percentage of Cubans
    Once people like you call off the U.S. economic war on Cuba’s population , there will be more resources available for all things including low-cost, high-speed internet service for all Cubans.
    And yes it is indeed “unfortunate” that Cubans have to wait until the end of the U.S. embargo to enjoy what we in the States take for granted.
    Unfortunate is a term that means unlucky and it is U.S. foreign policy i.e. , the embargo and not bad luck that has resulted in the various shortages in Cuba.
    It’s quite deliberate, as you well know.

  • March 18, 2014 at 6:22 am
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    In Las Tunas there is a new internet café with very good speeds (and air conditioning). The Etecsa phone company internet café has suffered from slow service, slow internet speed, no air conditioning and not up to par computers. The resorts I visited had very slow speeds as well.

  • March 18, 2014 at 5:31 am
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    The situation is again very confused.

    The first news I read about internet at home came from “Diario de Cuba” on March 6 based on the statements of an “official of ETECSA”. (1) The reporter was Ivan Garcia,, an independent journalist reported that from September onward home internet would be available based on a document, from the office of Ibis Díaz Silva, commercial executive of ETECSA’s Oficina de Pequeños y Medianos Usuarios (Office of Small and Medium Users ). A translation of the article was posted on “Translating Cuba”.(2).

    By March 13 DDC stated that a spokesman of ETECSA had said that the prices still weren’t decided on the exact prices (3). It restated that the principle was accepted. On March 14 the data of intruduction – September – was also put in question (4).

    Now here it is reported that DPA, a German news service, would have posted a denial that the service would be offered.
    I must say I was surprised and a bit skeptical when the DDC first put out the news, but they – and Ivan Garcia – are pretty reliable;
    My guess is that the regime still struggles itself with the question.
    It can also be that this “document” was a hoax planted to mislead Mr. Garcia and put his credibility in doubt.
    Time will tell.

  • March 18, 2014 at 5:27 am
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    It’s just unfortunate that actual Cuban citizens have little or no access. Even Haiti has better access. I wonder why?

  • March 17, 2014 at 8:19 pm
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    I used the internet at Parc Centrale hotel in February and March and found the speed just like what we consider high speed in Alberta, Canada. No complaints

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