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Cuba’s Wi-Fi network improves

International 12 Aug, 2020 Follow News

More Cubans have access to affordable internet now

Cubans are getting far better and more affordable internet connection. Up until a few years ago, the only way most Cubans could use the internet was to visit a public Wi-Fi hot spot, typically a park or plaza, and connect to the internet using scratch-off cards sold by the hour.

These outdoor Wi-Fi hot spots were few and far between, and they provided no protection from the scorching sun or torrential Caribbean downpours. And the reliability of the connection was spotty at best.

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canél indicated in 2015 that the country would work to make the internet “available, accessible, and affordable for everyone.” At the time, cellular phones were relatively rare, mobile data plans were non-existent, and only a lucky few individuals had (very slow) dial-up internet at home.

While there is certainly room for improvement, the internet has grown more in the past 18 months than it had in the previous decade and the majority of Cubans are pleased with the progress.

Cuba now boasts 1,072 public Wi-Fi hot spots that serve as a vital resource to connect its people with the outside world. But fewer and fewer people are using them as their primary means of connection. Since December 2018, Cubans have been able to purchase phone-based data plans, allowing them to connect anywhere there is a signal.

Between 2015 and 2019, hourly Wi-Fi connectivity rates dropped from $4.50 an hour to $1 an hour. In a country where the average salary hovers around $25 a month, such a significant price drop dramatically increases the number of people who can afford to access the internet.

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