Cuba to further broaden Wi-Fi access

HAVANA, Nov. 23th  (XINHUA)  Etecsa announced Friday that it will open 20 more public Wi-Fi areas throughout the country.

Half of the areas will be in Havana, said Darline Perez, an official from Etecsa.

In July, Etecsa opened 35 public Wi-Fi spots and, despite being a step forward for connectivity, locals have criticized the spots for bad conditions and the lack of top-up coupons.

Currently there are 118 places with fixed dial-up connections on the Caribbean island. But a total of 300 places are planned to be up and running by the end of the year, according to official projections.

With the opening of Wi-Fi areas, the tariff for Internet use has almost halved to around 1 U.S. dollar per hour.

“It is obvious that there is now better access to the Internet but the ideal situation would be to have access from home,” Yasmani Hernandez, a student looking for online coursebooks via her cellphone, told Xinhua.

Hernandez complained about the conditions in the Wi-Fi spots, which are almost always outside in avenues and parks.

Rebeca Mendez, an actress, agreed. “It would be great to connect to the Internet from home, in comfort and without having to go out onto the street and put up with the heat,” she said while using Wi-Fi to communicate with her family members in the United States.

In 2013, only 3.4 percent of Cuban homes had Internet connections, one of the lowest figures in the world, according to the United Nation’s International Telecommunication Union.