Mobile internet finally reaches Cuba, for now only available to select few but wider rollout by 2018-end
In the age of the internet mobile internet is one of the basic necessities that keeps the people of any country connected to one another. It also enables news to travel faster. However, in many countries across the globe mobile internet is a luxury that most people don't have access to. And so, taking a break from its decades old trend, Caribbean island nation of Cuba has started providing mobile internet to select users in the country.
Employees at the state-tun news agencies and embassies in the country will be first once to get mobile internet access in the country as the government aims to make the service available to all the mobile phone users by the end of the year.
While the Cuban telecom giant ETECSA, which has a monopoly in the island nation, hasn't made any formal announcement regarding the move yet, but according to a Reuters report, the telecom company could charge the companies $45 (Rs 3,000 approximately) a month for 4GB of data.
Furthermore, the report suggests that the ETECSA would provide mobile internet to all of its 5 million customers, which is nearly the half of the country's population, by the end of 2018.
Commenting on the development Cuban President Miguel Diaz Canel said that the wider internet access would boost the country's economy and help the Cuban citizens defend their revolution.
Until 2013, internet availability was mostly restricted to tourist hotels in Cuba. Over the years, the Cuban government increased the internet penetration in the country by introducing cybercafes and public Wi-Fi spots which charge $1 (Rs 69 approximately) an hour. For reference, the monthly wage of people stands at around $30 (Rs 2,000 approximately).
Then in 2015, a document regarding the Cuban government's internet strategy leaked. As per the document, the government aimed to connect at least half the homes in the country by 2020. However, Cubans seem to be skeptic about the development. And the figures so far seem to be in agreement with that as ETECSA President Mayra Arevich in a statement last December told the local media that the telecom operator had so far connected just 11,000 homes in the country.
While Cuba is still struggling to achieve 3G connectivity, most of the Latin American nations have moved on to providing 4G connectivity within their lands.