“It’s never too late if the WiFi is good,” the officials of the Cuban Telecommuniations Company (Etecsa) might say, announcing the opening in the coming weeks of 35 Internet browsing rooms with WiFi technology in public spaces throughout the country. The information was published this Thursday in the newspaper Juventud Rebelde (Rebel Youth) and comes just when people’s demand for connectivity has reached a point that makes it hard for the authorities of the sector to ignore it.
Luis Manuel Díaz Naranjo, Director of Communications for Etecsa, told the official press that the service will be implemented at the beginning of July, as the company is still engaged “in working on adjustments to the heart of the center that will operate this kind of wireless network technology.”
Wireless networks will be accessible in the locations under the name of WIFI_ETECSA, like those already operating under this name in the international terminal of Havana’s Jose Marti Airport, and in several hotels in the country. All those who have an account – temporary or permanent – with Etesca’s Nauta service will be able to access it through cellphones, personal computers, tablets or other technological devices with wireless signal receivers.
Another welcome announcement has been the reduction in price for an hour of navigation time, which as of July 1 stwill be 2 CUC versus the current 4.50 CUC, although in recent months reloads have been offered at half that price. Diaz Naranjo acknowledged, however, that “it is still not the target price,” in a country where the average monthly salary doesn’t exceed the equivalent of 30 CUC.
The official clarified that it is not a new service, but “a new method of access” for what is offered today in Etecsa’s public navigation rooms and at the Computing and Electronics Youth Clubs.
In the interview, Diaz Naranjo specified that the connection speed could reach 1 megabyte per user and that the number of people who can navigate at the same time could vary between 50 and 100, according to the size of the area included in the wireless network.
The 35 places that will implement this WiFi signal in Havana are: La Rampa, from the Malecon to Yara Cinema; La Lisa park located on Avenue 51; Fe del Valle park, on Galiano and San Rafael; the Marianao Amphitheater; and the Paseo de la Villa Panamerica. In Pinar del Rio: Independencia and Roberto Amarán parks. Artemisa: Boulevard and de la Iglesia park. Mayabeque: Guines Park and Boulevard de San Jose. Matanzas: Liberty and Peñas Altas parks. Villa Clara: Leoncio Vidal and Remedios parks.
The city of Cienfuegos will have wireless navigation in Martí Park and Rápido Punta Gorda. Sancti Spíritus: Céspedes, de Trinidad, and Serafín Sánchez parks. Ciego de Ávila: Martí and Morón parks. Camagüey: Agramonte Park and Plaza del Gallo. Las Tunas: Plaza Martiana and Tanque de Buena Vista. Holguín: Calixto García and Julio Grave de Peralta parks. Granma: Boulevards Bayamo and Manzanillo. Santiago de Cuba: Céspedes, Ferreiro and Plaza de Marte parks. Guantánamo: Martí Park and Baracoa Central Park. Isla de la Juventud: Boulevard Nueva Gerona.
Etecsa also plans to make adjustments to the Enet and Nauta email platforms, which today have more than 800,000 users across the country. The email service will be interrupted in the early morning of June 23, which has triggered speculations among the public about the possibility of the coming of mobile connections to the web.
In a call to the service number 118, an operator explained to this newspaper that the reason for the planned suspension on the 23 rd was for transferring the platform, which is moving “from its current site in the capital’s Cubanacan neighborhood, to another located in Fontanar.”
For some weeks, in the early morning hours, users accessing Nauta service from their cellphones could experience a change in the message access protocols such as IMAP and POP. During the hours of lower traffic, the directions for downloading emails will appear redirected to the Enet service, an Internet connection option for foreigners, businesses and foreign press correspondents residing on the Island.
In recent days two directors from the Google giant, Bret Perlmutter, of Google Ideas, and Brehanna Zwart, of Google Access and Energy, have been in Cuba. Several American publications announced last week that the company had made a proposal to the Cuban government to participate in the Island’s connectivity infrastructure.