Luz Escobar, Havana, 1 March 2017 — After a two month free trial, the fees for government-run home internet service, known as “Nauta Hogar,” were announced on Wednesday. The Telecommunications Company of Cuba (ETECSA) will charge between 15 and 115 Cuban convertible pesos (CUC) for packages of 30 hours, depending on the connection speed, which varies 128 kilobytes and 2 megabytes. Thus, Cubans will pay, depending on the speed, the equivalent of roughly three weeks to five months wages in a state enterprise for one hour of internet a day.
Last January, the state monopoly chose 2,000 users in the Catedral and Plaza Vieja popular council areas for a pilot test of home web connectivity. Today, March 1, users have been informed of the ongoing costs for the service, but are not able to set up contracts because the computer system “is not working yet,” according to an employee of the Obispo Street Telepoint office who spoke to 14ymedio.
The worker explained that the new rates must be paid “within a period of seven days and if they are not the service will be cut.” Once interrupted, “the user has 30 days to pay and restore it.” Otherwise it will be disconnected.
After consuming the 30 hours of the initial package, customers can recharge their Nauta accounts under the same bonus terms used for wifi connections; users will be able to purchase more than one 30-hour package per month.
Until now, surfing the internet from home was a privilege reserved for senior officials, the most trustworthy professionals, and foreigners living in Cuba
Until now, surfing the internet from home was a privilege reserved for senior officials, the most trustworthy professionals, and foreigners living in Cuba. Most connections were made through the antiquated dial-up method, but the new connections will be served by faster ADSL lines.
Cuba is among the countries in the world with the lowest rate of internet access. Since July 2015, the state telecommunications monopoly has enabled public wifi hotspots, which now number more than 200 throughout the country. According to official figures, around 250,000 daily users are connected in these zones.
In recent weeks antennas for wireless connection have also been installed in several places along Havana’s Malecon, and the company is planning to extend the service to the entire perimeter of the coastal strip. For now, wifi is active along the Malecon at Hola Ola, La Piragua, 12 and Malecón, 3rd and B and Fuente de la Juventud.