Cuba’s state-run telecommunications company, ETECSA, reportedly announced late Sunday a pilot project to bring broadband internet into homes in Havana. According to the announcement, cafes, bars and restaurants would also be allowed to have broadband connections, which would be offered through fiber optic cables.
Odalys Rodríguez del Toro, director for Havana at ETECSA, made the announcement, adding that three parks would also receive wireless internet services, according to a report in the Cuba Journal. The new broadband services would be made available through fiber optic connections which are operated by Chinese telecom operator Huawei, Cuba Journal reported.
Del Toro did not provide a timeline for when the pilot project would be rolled out, or when larger-scale access could be provided to the public, the Associated Press (AP) reported. He also said prices for the proposed project would be announced later.
At present, the only legal home broadband connections in Cuba are with diplomats and employees of foreign companies who pay large sums of money for speeds that are slower than the average in other countries, according to AP. Some Cubans have restricted internet access through dial-up or mobile connections which allows them to use a state-run email service.
General public access to the internet began last year in Cuba when dozens of public Wi-Fi hotspots were set up. They cost $2, which was reportedly about a tenth of the average monthly salary in Cuba, for an hour of usage. Del Toro said 20 more Wi-Fi spots would be opened in Havana during 2016, with many more to come up in the rest of the country.