14YMEDIO, Havana, July 20, 20108–Another interruption in Cuba’s Nauta email and Internet services left thousands of users without communication on Friday. The failure is the second in less than three weeks that affected several official digital sites, like the newspaper Granma, the national email Nauta, and the WIFI zones of Internet connection, according to 14ymedio.
“They’re doing a comprehensive repair on the whole cellphone service to improve the network,” an employee of the state communications company Etecsa explained to this newspaper. “Many clients have called because they’re having problems, and we’re asking that they don’t try to access the WIFI network for the moment to avoid leaving the session open and continue consuming their balances without really being connected,” he added.
According to the employee, “The repair work started on Friday morning and is expected to take up to Monday night,” although the only telephone company in the country didn’t issue a notice to alert its clients nor did it apologize on social media for the inconvenience.
The interruption in service has unleashed a barrage of criticism of the State monopoly and also has generated some hope that the repairs are related to preparations for cellphone Internet service.
Cuba is one of the most backward countries in this hemisphere as far as Internet connectivity is concerned. Only 4.5 million citizens, around 40 percent of the population, can access the Web, according to official data, and independent experts find even that figure very questionable.
This past July 3, another Etecsa failure left the country without the company’s Nauta email service, and technical problems also affected the official newspapers, Granma, Trabajadores and Juventud Rebelde, which are hosted on national servers.
At this time the company is not clarifying what kind of problems they are confronting, but technical failures in the State monopoly are common, although it’s not often they affect newspapers like Granma, the offiicial voice of the Communist Party.
One week earlier, a fire in an Etecsa building caused a blackout in mobile telephone service in the provinces of the center of the country and Pinar del Río. More than 1.5 million cellphone lines remained sithout service after the disaster in Santa Clara.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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