Cuba slashes internet costs

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Cuba slashes internet costs

Havana (AFP) – Cuba cut the price of internet access by 25 percent Monday, but getting online still costs more than a day’s wages for the average worker in one of the world’s least connected countries.

State telecommunications company Etecsa said an hour of internet access would now cost $1.50, down from $2.

But that is still a small fortune in a country where the average salary is $29 a month.

Cuba has one of the lowest internet access rates in the world.

One of US President Barack Obama’s stated goals in announcing an historic rapprochement with the communist island in December 2014 was to improve Cubans’ internet access.

Last year, just one-third of Cubans went online, according to official statistics.

The country has some 900 state-run internet cafés and 200 wifi hotspots. But connection costs are prohibitively expensive for most.

Only restricted professions such as journalists and doctors are allowed internet service at home.

But Etecsa said it was considering a policy change.

It is preparing to give 2,000 Havana residents home connections in a two-month “experiment,” said Etecsa official Ana Maria Mendez.

The goal is to “evaluate, in a real-world scenario, the possibilities” for expanding home internet use, she said.

Cuba has some 900 state-run internet cafés and 200 wifi hotspots, but connection costs are prohibitively expensive for most
Copyright AFP/File STR

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