Wireless free mobile Internet for the first time in Cuba last night | Photos |

by Ioan Pupila 2018-08-16 10:40:50

Access to free information on World Wide Web is not something Cubans take for granted. In order to post on social media, use e-mails or read the news online, Cubans must buy a 1$ Internet access card from ECTSA (the centralised state-run telecommunications company) and find a public outdoors hot spot. 

But last night, for about 9 hours, this reality has changed: on Wednesday, Cuban Government tested wireless net directly on mobile phones nationwide. For a short period, Cubans used the net from their homes and could get in touch freely with the world news and SoMe networks.

Silvio is one of the many  Cubans who have no connection to their family members who immigrated in the US, due to lack of proper and affordable internet connection throughout the country

Photo and documentation: Diana Contini- IndieFrame | read story below |

Though the ECTSA future plan is not to democratise the access to free Internet and having the privacy data sorted for the Cuban internet users, the wireless test is a small step towards better Internet access and possibly more informed citizens.

However, as our IndieFrame foreign users informed us through photographic materials taken two months ago, Cubans might face the risk of being under surveillance from the Government via their home wireless networks. 

  • According to our reporter Diana Contini, here's the story of the photo above:

''Silvio, a small gallery owner, has not seen his father in almost 50 years. The Cuban government refers to Silvio’s father as “deserter”. He fled the country a long time ago without official authorisation and he is now banned from returning. At the same time, Silvio has been denied a U.S. visa many times already.

This is only one of the many cases of families torn apart because of the long-standing U.S. and Cuba travel restrictions, which deny Cubans the fundamental right to freedom of movement. Lack of proper and affordable internet connection throughout the country makes the situation even more devastating for these families, where parents can only see their children grow up through pictures.''

People stand near a WiFi hotspot. Trinidad, Cuba, June 2018 |Photo: Diana Contini | IndieFrame

Situation on June, 2018 - Reported on IndieFrame App by Diana Contini:

'Lack of funding, the U.S. embargo and the unique political situation of Cuba have caused the stagnation of telecommunications services in the country, meaning that today less than half of the Cuban population has access to proper and affordable internet connection. 
All internet services are currently controlled by the state-owned telecom company, ETECSA and provided through government-approved WiFi hotspots scattered around the country. 
These hotspots are mostly located in public parks and main streets and are recognisable thanks to the crowds of Cubans standing with their phone in their hands. The average cost for one hour of internet is 1.50$, while not long ago it amounted to 20$ per hour. The average state salary is 25$ per month. Home internet access remains largely unavailable throughout the country.

:: For more details on the story and getting editorial rights for the photos, please get in touch with our reporter in Cuba on IndieFrame ::

Street in Havana - Photo: Jens Panduro / IndieFrame