Cuba pays 25 per cent blockade premium for internet

Campaign News | Monday, 24 July 2006

Access via underwater cable is restricted by US laws

Havana - Cuba had to pay 4 million dollars for satellite internet access in 2005, 25 per cent more than an underwater cable access would have cost, Cuban officials claimed on Monday.

The embargo that Washington imposed on Cuba in 1962 precludes use by the communist island nation of an underwater optic fibre cable that runs near its territory.

Roberto Santiesteban, of Cuba's Telecommunications Company (ETECSA), who revealed the discrepancy to reporters, said Cuba was also at a disadvantage because cable connections give faster and better internet quality

The country has had internet for ten years. The regime led by Fidel Castro has prioritized the web's 'social' use and limited access by individuals, claiming insufficient bandwidth.

A recent report by state newspaper 'Granma' said that there are around 190,000 Internet users in Cuba, with 1,351 registered domains ending in .cu and 2,500 websites.

The most recent statistics published in Havana indicate that by early 2006, there were an estimated 377,000 computers in Cuba, equivalent to 3.4 per 100 inhabitants. However, 36 per cent corresponded to the so-called 'prioritized sectors.'

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