Monday, February 15, 2016

Mobile access phone booths in rural areas

Omar Tejedor, Central Director of Public Telephony at ETECSA, announced a pilot test using public pay phones for mobile access. They will upgrade public phones, enabling them to access the mobile GSM network.

the public phones will link to underutilized mobile base stations and their goal is to augment telephone access in rural and mountain areas. This is a small pilot test -- they've contracted for upgrades to 50 phones so far -- and prices have not been announced.

This is not a major development, but it is consistent with Cuba's history. Since the early days of the Internet, they have put more emphasis on rural connectivity than was common in developing nations.

It is also an instance of Cuban ingenuity -- like equipping a bicycle with an engine, pop-bottle fuel tank and oversize seat, creating El Paquete Semanal or growing street nets.

It also reminds me of a time many years ago in Havana when my wife asked a woman on the street if she knew where the closest pay phone was. She replied that there was one up the street, but it had not worked for years. That was the bad news. The good news was that she had a phone in her home and invited us in to use it.

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