HAVANA, March 17 The state-owned Integral Telecommunications Solutions Company Solintel S.A. plans to start installing Wi-Fi networks in the few and delayed Cuban national trains as of September of this year, reports the Escambray provincial media.
The director of Solintel S.A., Robelis Lambert Matos, said that the aspiration is to close the current year with the wireless internet connection service in some sections covered by the Cuban Railway Union (UFC), but did not specify which ones.
Judging by what Lambert Matos declared, the project is just beginning, as he pointed out that it is still necessary to define the “necessary equipment to allow connectivity, analyze the internal structure of the wagons for the installation of equipment and power outlets, as well as determine the best commercial strategy to promote the service.”
The state media did not indicate the cost of the project. The manager of Solintel S.A told Escambray that “the infrastructure of the network and 4G mobile telephony on the railway’s central line are also under study, as well as the detection of so-called silence zones”, in which passengers will not be able to use that service.
Although the Government has tried to revive the dire state of the railways in Cuba with financing from its Russian and Chinese allies, in practice these investments have not succeeded in modernizing the island’s railway system.
In October 2019, the Russian state company RZD (Russian Railways) signed an agreement with the UFC to modernize the Cuban railway system, a project valued at 2,314 million dollars and financed entirely by Moscow.
But at the end of 2020, Moscow suspended the agreement due to the fact that the Government of Cuba did not pay the Russian state company RZD the established amounts.
In October of last year, the Chinese company Beijing Fangian Technology Co. signed agreements of intent with the state company UFC for the restoration of railway workshops and locomotives of the Ferromar company, located in the Mariel Special Development Zone, in addition to the importation of parts and parts of railway equipment.
In April of last year, it was revealed in the official Juventud Rebelde media that barely four of the six locomotives that the country has for the transfer of passengers are working, all with more than ten years of operation.
Due to the poor condition of the railways, the technicians recommend a maximum speed of 70km per hour. This means that a train trip from Havana to Guantanamo —if there are no delays or breakages along the way— can take up to 21 hours.