Communist-run Cuba starts rolling out internet on mobile phones

Mobile Internet Dream Come True For Cuba

Mobile Internet Dream Come True For Cuba

People record videos with their mobile phones of a street musician's performance during sunset at an internet hotspot along the seafront in Havana, Cuba, July 14, 2018. "I can now update on the news from wherever I am, including where the news is taking place".

Specialists of the national Cuban telecommunications company ETECSA opened up mobile Internet for journalists of state media.

The telecom monopoly aims to expand mobile internet to almost half of Cuba's population - five million mobile phone customers - by the end of this year.

A surge in tourism after the 2015 normalization of U.S. -Cuba relations fueled the rise of a prosperous Cuban upper-middle class whose businesses often depended on small-scale bribery and the purchase of goods stolen from state-run enterprises. Internet was only accessible to the populace at tourist hotels in Cuba until 2013.

More recently, almost 400 government-run Wi-Fi hotspots, as well as cybercafes, have sprung up.

The proposed changes come as 58-year-old Miguel Diaz-Canel, a former provincial leader, is in only his third month as Cuban president, succeeding two icons of Cuba's revolutionary generation, Raul Castro and before him his brother Fidel Castro.

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This, he said, should help economic growth and help the Cuban people defend their revolution.

Cuba could utilize the subsidies provided to it to boost the government-funded applications said, experts. As compared to the wider internet, Cuba's intranet with selected government-approved sites and email is much cheaper to access.

But many Cubans are skeptical. ETECSA President Mayra Arevich had told state-owned media last December that only 11,000 homes had been connected as at 2017.

"I was hoping that they'd respect those of us who have had more than one license for a long time", said Camilo Condis, who owns an apartment that he rents out nightly and works in a private restaurant.

The Cubans have smartphones since ages, but it is only now that the Cuban government has started installing 3G, even though most of Latin America has moved onto 4G, with 5G testing in its last phase.

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