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October 2015
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Wi-Fi and Dirty Pants

Wi-Fi and Dirty Pants
HILDEBRANDO CHAVIANO MONTES | La Habana | 19 Oct 2015 – 12:15 pm.

The illiterate of the 21st century are those who do not have Internet
access. Many do not even know that the Internet exists in Cuba.

As has been the case in Cuba for quite some time, everything that is
created emerges warped, tainted by corruption and the vices and
inefficiency of a society lacking civic and moral values and true
interest in the development of the country.

Now this is affecting the new information and communications
technologies, whose implementation – expensive, scant, limited and
deficient – is also hindered by the abuse of speculators hoarding
wireless connection cards; originally priced at 2.00 CUC for one hour of
connection, they are shamelessly resold at 3.00 and up to 4.00 CUC.

The country’s 35 Wi-Fi hotspots, with a range serving some 100 people
each, are ridiculously inadequate. The 2.00 CUC/hour price is far too
high in a country where the average monthly wage is around 20.00 CUC.

To avoid so much sitting around in the sun and in grubby public and
private doorways and stairways, the threat of attackers, and the
constant siege by speculators and annoying cops asking young people for
their identification, or seeking to connect, due to the slowness of the
connections provided by the Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba SA
(ETECSA), the government would do well to take some steps to bring the
service up to a level consonant with the countries in our geographical
area and beyond.

First, service should be set up in public and private establishments
(restaurants, cafés, shops, hotels, etc.) which, through the payment of
a reasonable fee (40.00 CUC/month, for example, set by the ETECSA),
would enjoy an increase in their numbers of users and/or consumers,
drawn by the free service. It would be a win-win.

Second: expand Wi-Fi networks to citizens in their homes through monthly
payment contracts similar to those established for the venues mentioned
in the previous paragraph.

One might argue that these proposals do not account for the insufficient
resources available to the Cuban government, but, as long as that the
state monopoly has become involved in this lucrative and important
business, it ought to meet the challenges posed by its development, or
accept offers from American companies, which would surely drive down
prices and provide much better service.

The massification of the new information and communications technologies
would undoubtedly boost Cuba’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), as has
happened in other countries, like Bolivia, where widespread Internet
access has allowed the country to enjoy the greatest economic growth in
Latin America this year.

Perhaps the Cuban government’s plans for modernization are not so
ambitious, but Cuba would benefit from an end to the self-imposed
blockade that prevents its citizens from enjoying the benefits of new

There will always excuses to invoke: the “imperialist blockade,” the
danger that the cable passes through Florida (?), the media war,
cultural penetration, the lack of resources, etc.

One of the real reasons for all the foot dragging in the installation of
cable, antennas and other system components is that after the
technological upgrade, which is long overdue, the newspaper Granma will
be even less read, and the Round Table will end up buried in the
cemetery of grating and useless programs. Another reason is that we
Cubans will have a little bit of freedom, and the directors of the
private company called the “Socialist Revolution” hate the idea of the
people enjoying some freedom, even if it is virtual.

In the end, sooner or later, Cubans will have Internet access at more
affordable prices, and the dinosaurs will throw a tantrum, but will have
to put up with development prevailing, despite all their fears and bad
intentions. And, along the way, young people will not get their pants
dirty on stairs and in doorways, nor will they be expelled from the
vicinity of the Hotel Capri.

The right to the Internet is actually like the right to literacy. The
illiterate of the 21st century are those citizens who do not enjoy this
right and, in the case of Cuba, there are many who do not even know that
it exists. Yet one more disgrace attributable to the leaders of the most
notorious business disaster in the country’s history, a socialist
revolution that ceased to be a revolution early on, and was never really

Source: Wi-Fi and Dirty Pants | Diario de Cuba –

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