Cuban Artist Kcho Offers Free WiFi Point

Luis Rondon Paz

Foto: Juan Suarez

HAVANA TIMES — I can’t believe it! A place with free Internet in Havana? “Yep, This is a project of Kcho, the artist, the guy is really something. In his studio located at ninth and 120th streets of the Romerillo neighborhood of Playa he has set up a free WiFi access point,” a friend told me. “Read this,” he said, showing me an article from the foreign press.

I couldn’t believe it, too good to be true, but as an amateur journalist, I promised that the next day I would investigate the matter.

So I did.

On the way to the artist’s studio the driver of the collective taxi said that Kcho has revolutionized the area and is known by the locals as the godfather of Romerillo.

The Free Wifi point at Kcho’s Romerillo Art Studio. Photo: Juan Suarez

When I arrived, I saw people all around, busy with their cell phones. Inside the place I could see with my own eyes that yes there was free internet for everyone visiting the famous “Art Laboratory Romerillo Studio.”

It was hard to believe and encouraging to see the number of young and not so young people with their phones freely accessing the Internet and without having to wait in a long line to connect or pay 4.50 CUC (5.00 USD) an hour.

There was the host of this social revolution from art, “Kcho”. I presented myself, praised his initiative and asked him a few questions.

Kcho (left) explaining his service. Photo: Luis Rondon Paz

“Brother, how long have you been providing this service?”

“Since a year and a half ago we offered free internet to the population in the library, and the WiFi service for two, almost three months,” he said.

While we were talking I mentioned that I had difficulty connecting, and he called the computer technician to solve my difficulty accessing the service. The techy informed me that the network generally is over-saturated, because they only have a 512 kbs / sec link.

He said this doesn’t meet the current demand and added that the service is available round the clock, as is the arts center. The claim was corroborated by two neighbors, “we sometimes come in the early morning hours, it’s when fewer people are here and there’s better connection speed.”

Instructions about the free connection. Photo: Juan Suarez

As expected, I could barely open one or two pages for the amount of people who were connected to the Internet via WIFI. So I shut down my computer and took some pictures as testimony to this great work for free access to information.

According to Kcho “Cubans are prepared for this, this locale provides this service for people to access Internet responsibly.” He said he feels a great satisfaction to see how students and seniors feel happy to be able to communicate with their families, without having to wait in line or pay 4.50 CUC for Internet access.

He noted that he was paying for the free internet service out of pocket and gets a lot of joy out of investing part of the proceeds from his art for the community.

9 thoughts on “Cuban Artist Kcho Offers Free WiFi Point

  • Nothing to advance the debate? So you resort to personal attacks?

  • I’ll bet it’s with the utmost and masturbatory self-admiration that you reread the crap you write over and over again. John Goodrich’s excellent point stands.

  • Your ad hominen attacks are poor cover for your lack of an intelligent defense of the Castros failed regime. The TRUTH is that the US has encouraged internet use in Cuba. It is the endemic fear of information that has fueled the Castros slow walk forward technologically. How odd it is to hear an atheist like you talk about revocation of breathing licenses. Is the “they” you refer to a blithe reference to God?

  • One swallow does not make a spring.

    Leinier Cruz Salfran, computer technician 34 in Guantanamo was arrested on January 17 by the State Security accused of illegal activity for connecting people via WIFI. He was fined 500 Peso, released on January 23 and is awaiting trial. His equipment was confiscated.

    In Decmeber 2014 Mauricio Noa Maceo was sentenced to three years in jail in Havana for having set up a small network to share a satellite dish to receive TV signals.

  • The future of Cuba belongs to people like Kcho and many other artists and IT aficionados. Give the people, of all countries, the capability to interact and learn what neighbors are doing and some
    really good things begin to happen. Congrats and Kudo’s to KCHO!

  • WTF is this “we” shit ?
    WE should do this or “we” should do that to a SOVEREIGN country ?
    Who in hell do you think you are to tell people in another country what they should and should not have ?
    The reason Cuba is so poor and things like universal and top-of-the-line services are not available is because imperialist a-holes like you decided to impoverish the entire population and nation because “they” won’t do what “we” tell them to do .
    And you proudly point out your own hypocrisy as if it were a virtue.
    Might makes right…. in your sad totalitarian world.
    They need to revoke your breathing license.

  • How much does it cost to set up internet service per month in US dollars?

  • 512 kbs/sec? Does YouTube work at that speed? Internet streaming? Wow, obviously Cubans are starving for the simple, everyday technology available in every coffee shop and petting zoo in America. Tell me again why we should sit down AS EQUALS at the negotiating table with these guys?

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