Tuesday, May 28, 2013

New public access will open June 4

The undersea cable link between Cuba and Jamaica came online in mid May and that connection may now be bearing fruit. Etecsa will open 118 new public access centers on June 4.

It is noteworthy that the access centers are dispersed throughout the island. Only 12 of the 118 are in Havana. That indicates the existence of a domestic backbone.  It would be interesting to get some information on it.

It is also indicative of a Cuban policy of developing areas outside the capital and major cities, which has been followed since the early networking days.  Even then, Cuba was less focused on one or two major cities than other developing nations.

Pricing will be as follows:
  • Domestic browsing and email .60 CUC/hour
  • International email plus domestic navigation 1.50 CUC/hour
  • International browsing and email 4.50 CUC/hour
Patrons will also be allowed to bring flash drives for uploading and downloading files.

This is a step in the right direction, but these rates are very high by international standards and beyond the reach of many Cubans.  Given the capacity of the undersea cable, it is hard to understand the high prices and the large difference between domestic and international connectivity.  Perhaps Etecsa consulted with AT&T, Comcast and Verizon in setting their rates :-).


Update 5/28/2013

Cuban access prices

Here is full price schedule for permanent (rechargeable) and prepaid tourist Internet access.

The graphic design of the page is trendy by Cuban standards -- they must have been watching ads for MicroSoft Windows 8!



The New York Times had an article on the new centers and prices (nyti.ms/18tZEr8). It makes the usual points about cost, constraints and survailance. Here is an ironic quote:

“It’s a real bargain,” said a user on the state news Web site Cuba Si who gave the name Osvaldo Ulloa. “I mean, I work for a week and then I can get online for hour — fabulous.”

Update 5/29/2013

It is noteworthy that only 12 of the 118 new access centers are in Havana.

Havana  12
Pinar del Rio  5
Artemis  8
Mayabeque  2
Matanzas  18
Cienfuegos  5
Villa Clara  15
Sancti Spiritus  9
Ciego de Avila  4
Camaguey  9
Las Tunas  9
Holguin  4
Granma  7
Santiago de Cuba  7
Guantanamo  3
Isle of Youth  1
Total 118

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