Cuba is one of the least-connected nations in the world. But yesterday its state telecommunications company announced that it was launching the first domestic broadband scheme in Havana.
The company, called ETECSA, will allow citizens who reside in Old Havana — the city’s old colonial centre — to order the Huawei-provided broadband service. Cafes, bars and restaurants will also be able to get in on the action.
The Associated Press points out that in the past home broadband has only been available to “diplomats and employees of foreign companies who pay hundreds of dollars a month for Internet links that are a fraction of the average speed in other countries”. While public Wi-Fi has started to appear in Havana, it costs $US2 an hour — about 10 per cent of the average mostly salary in Cuba.
It’s not clear how affordable the new domestic broadband connections will be. But it’s still a positive sign for a data-starved nation.
Image by AP