Cuba has its first free public WiFi2015-03-16 09:55 by Daniela
The first free public Wi-Fi hotspot has been launched in Cuba recently. It is situated at a Havana cultural center run by a Cuban artist Kcho who has close ties to the state government. He is operating the hub using his own, government-approved internet connection, for which he pays approximately $900 per month.
Kcho admits that because dozens of users are connecting to the center's Wi-Fi at any given time, the signal strength is often weak. But having in mind that in Cuba citizens need government approval to install a router, a slow Wi-Fi connection is better than none at all.
"It is expensive, but the benefit is tremendous," Kcho told the AP. "I have something that is great and powerful. I can share it, and I am doing so."
Despite this small progress, it is not expected that such hotspots will pop up in other areas, at least not yet. The hotspot is a reality because Kcho volunteered to leave his WiFi open, and his closeness to the Cuban government gave him a chance to get its approval for the network.
Currently, only 5% - 25% of Cubans have access to any type of internet connection. One of the reasons is that internet access is incredibly expensive - an hour of internet access at a cafe can cost $4.50 - nearly a week's wages for the average Cuban.
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