Wifi in Pinar del Río: Slideshow

Since early this month, the landscape has changed in Pinar del Río with the installation of a wireless network to surf the Internet, installed by the State Telecommunications Company of Cuba (ETECSA)

Some young people share a application that lets others connect through a single account and save money

Young girls look for friends on Facebook. The complicit laughter and whispers into each other’s ears complete the picture.

The WiFi service has changed the face of the central avenue for the four blocks from Independence Park to La Chiquita store.

The park where as recently as two weeks ago only drunks and vagrants spent the night has been taken over by whole families gathered around a screen.

At any hour of the morning, afternoon or night, the place is packed with entire families talking via Skype with their family members abroad.

Students download information they can use in their next course, young people recently released onto the World Wide Web create their Facebook profiles

No one wants to be without their kilobytes. The tricks to it are shared outloud and if someone finds a way to optimize the connection time, the news travels from mouth to mouth.

A commotion, a jolt or a social phenomenon, the fact is that everyone agrees this city is not the same since the first of July.

The artist Arquímedes Lores Nelo talking with a family member from the Parque del Bosque

A girl, sitting in a doorway, chats her cellphone. “For us, who have nothing, this is very good,” explains the young woman without taking her eyes off the screen.

The park where as recently as two weeks ago only drunks and vagrants spent the night has been taken over by whole families gathered around a screen.

The reduction in hourly connection costs, although still out of reach relative to wages, has motivated many to try this thing called the “interned.” (sic)

Now, at two convertible pesos an hour*, residents of Pinar del Río have been added to the many Cubans who have taken to the places where 35 WiFi points have just been unveiled throughout the country.

A month before the service was turned on in Pinar del Río, the antennas were installed for the connection and, barely two weeks beforehand, the bandwidth was tested with 120 people connected at the same time

In Independence Park the connectivity is quite a spectacle. Loudspeakers play reggaeton every hour, while hundreds of young people are everywhere, some connected to the web, others dancing.

People, despite the costs, bite the bullet and live the experience of access to a vast diversity of information

Alejandro, a young college student who has already tested the service a couple of times, told 14ymedio, “This is the best vacation gift you could imagine, this is my best summer.”

The bright flashes of the red LED on the USB memory shows they are making copies of everything they read.

“Cubans always look for ways to overcome obstacles,” points out Andy, one of those connected to the peculiar network formed by all these guys stuck to their laptops

Midnight is approaching and the parks are still full. It seems that Pinar del Río doesn’t want to go to sleep.

The ETECSA offices in Pinar del Río


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