14ymedio, Havana, 5 January 2017 — This year began for Havana’s Malecón with five new points of wireless connection to Internet. The newly authorized Wi-Fi zones are located in La Piragua*, El Castillito de 12 and Calzada, the corner of 3rd and B, Hola Ola and the area around the Fuente de la Juventud (Fountain of Youth). This Thursday dozens of users arrived to test the service offered by Telecommunications Company of Cuba (Etecsa), at a rate of 1.50 Cuban convertible pesos per hour.
Looking for the few shady spots on the Malecón, netizens gathered near walls, buildings and monuments, to avoid the reflections of the sun on the screens of their phones and computers. “At night is when you can use it best,” explains Raudel, a young man who logged on Thursday for the second time near the Hotel Nacional.
The new Wi-Fi zones could help reduce congestion in other areas with wireless access such as La Rampa, Fe del Valle Park and the Latin American Stadium, which receive hundreds of customers every day. However, the main expectation for telecommunications in 2017 is the possible arrival of the internet to the island’s homes. “Connecting from home is something else,” says Raudel.
*Translator’s note: La Piragua is a large plaza-type open space along Havana’s Malecon overlooked by the Hotel Nacional.