Cuba’s State Telephone Company has announced internet browsing on mobile for 3G network customers starting December 06, 2018 (Thursday, Today). The move is supposed to be a gigantic step considering loss of information control, and the need to push economic growth in Cuba. However, the number of people who will be able to take advantage of the new technology largely depends on the affordability.
Cuba has a history of technology related bans with computers being permitted for common people only 10 years ago. Internet access in Cubans home has been very rare prior to 2016. With a population of more than 11.1 million people, there are approximately 5.3 million mobile lines in Cuba and 1.3 million landlines.
Cubans face extremely low internet speeds with 1Mbps speed even at wifi hotspots. Cubans need to pay $7 for 600 MB data and $30 for 4GB. The cost of internet access will therefore be a key barrier since nearly 60% of the Cuban population survives on less than $100 a month. Despite these hurdles, 68% of the Cubans have a Facebook account and 57% have a valid email address.
US companies such as Google have collaborated with the local government authorities to enhance internet access in Cuba.