Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Internet Censorship Government

Thousands Of Cubans Now Have Internet Access (ap.org) 70

There's been a dramatic change in one of the world's least-connected countries. An anonymous reader quotes the AP: Since the summer of 2015, the Cuban government has opened 240 public Wi-Fi spots in parks and on street corners across the country... The government estimates that 100,000 Cubans connect to the internet daily. A new feature of urban life in Cuba is the sight of people sitting at all hours on street corners or park benches, their faces illuminated by the screen of smartphones connected by applications such as Facebook Messenger to relatives in Miami, Ecuador or other outposts of the Cuban diaspora...

Cuban ingenuity has spread internet far beyond those public places: thousands of people grab the public signals through commercially available repeaters, imported illegally into Cuba and often sold for about $100 -- double the original price. Mounted on rooftops, the repeaters grab the public signals and create a form of home internet increasingly available in private rentals for tourists and cafes and restaurants for Cubans and visitors alike.

The article also points out that last month, for the first time ever, 2,000 Cubans began receiving home internet access.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Thousands Of Cubans Now Have Internet Access

Comments Filter:
  • Would have voted "no" on this in the firehose. Guess that's why it didn't show up there.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Exactly. The title is intentionally misleading.

      THOUSANDS OF CUBANS already had Internet access.

      Would the editor care to add a term like new or additional to clear things up, or am I going to have to reach my hands through the monitor and strangle the idiot?

      • Exactly. The title is intentionally misleading.

        THOUSANDS OF CUBANS already had Internet access.

        Would the editor care to add a term like new or additional to clear things up, or am I going to have to reach my hands through the monitor and strangle the idiot?

        Accurate is boring. The first rule of clickbait parrot club is never try to be accurate.

      • by fred911 ( 83970 )

        "THOUSANDS OF CUBANS already had Internet access."

        Which pales in comparison to the throughput of their thumbdrive sneakernet (or used to).

  • Let's see how long it takes for the government to start shutting down access to those that are accessing the "wrong" type of information. The Chinese government has a good model for how this oppression can work.

    • by jodido ( 1052890 ) on Sunday January 15, 2017 @07:01PM (#53673591)
      I've been in Cuba dozens of times in the last fifteen years and I have never been unable to access a single web site. This is going back to when I used a dialup account from the apartment where I was living. Same was true when I used the U. of Havana computers, same is true using the government-sponsored wifi, same is true using hotel wifi. So let's just drop the whole "Cuban government internet censorship" meme, shall we? Since it's never existed.
      • by karuna ( 187401 )
        It probably exists but in more obscure manner. I guess they actually have the capability to monitor all activities but then again the same is being done by many Western agencies as recent scandals reveal. But for most Cubans the problem is high cost relative to income and slow speed. When I was in Cuba, I couldn't access my gmail.com hosted personal email, ironically due to USA embargo rules.
      • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

        So let's get this straight. Your point is true when you lived in an apt, which is specifically built for people who enter the country to work there. It was true at the absolute elite places of education, it was true at those government-sponsored wifi locations which require specific access in rich areas. And it was true in the hotel that's built to cater to outsiders(again the rich elite). All while ignoring or burying your head in the sand that this doesn't apply to any of you, because you're the cater

        • by Anonymous Coward

          I went to Cuba in 2008 and stayed in several casa particulares - real peoples homes - and those who had internet had no censorship issues that they discussed with me. We even went onto the FBI and White House websites for a laugh.

          Good luck with your rage, btw.

  • Bad headline (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Sunday January 15, 2017 @12:04PM (#53671881) Homepage

    I was all set to rag on them for only having 'thousands', when the article stated Hundreds of thousands. Big difference. Most people I know have thousands of dollars in the bank - rent cost more than 1 thousand, after all. But not many people have hundreds of thousands.

    Hundreds of thousands means they actually are letting every day Cubans use the internet, rather than just government officials.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'm in Missouri and I pay ~$450.00/mo rent for a two bedroom apartment. I guarantee if you're somewhere like New York, you'd be paying $2500+ easily for the same space.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Hundreds of thousands means they actually are letting every day Cubans use the internet, rather than just government officials.

      Cubans have been allowed to use the Internet for many years already. It is (or was) very expensive, but if they could pay they could access it. They also have a sneakernet which they use to share files (movies) with flash drives.

      • Yes, Cuba is a very popular vacation destination for Canadians, and while I have not been there myself, the people I know who go there regularly often stock up on flash drives to take along and give out as gifts.

  • gotta love that 110 baud rs-232 connection.

  • Easier ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PPH ( 736903 ) on Sunday January 15, 2017 @01:38PM (#53672303)

    ... for oppressive governments to track their population this way.

    Welcome to the club.

  • Thousands of North Koreans now have Internet access.

    That's roughly an equivalence.

    Except N.K. is a much more expensive air flight, so gets fewer tourists.

  • by twasserman ( 878174 ) on Sunday January 15, 2017 @03:45PM (#53672863)
    Yes, the public access points make it easier to connect, but there is only a single ISP: the Cuban national telecommunications monopoly, ETECSA. To use the Internet, you must buy their scratch-off cards at their offices, which involves waiting in line. You can then use them on your own devices or at the aging Windows machines at ETECSA's centers. The cost of access has dropped to $1.50/hour, but that's a lot of money in a country where the average monthly income is $25. If you are associated with one of the universities, particularly the Universidad de Ciencias Informaticas west of Havana, Internet access is reasonably good (and free), but outside of that, only about 4% of Cubans connect to the Internet. Others get information from "The Packet", whose managers download and assemble materials, including books, movies, news, etc., onto electronic media and make it available to all.

    The good news is that the Cuban government isn't blocking access to websites, and that smartphones are becoming more widely available, but the absence of alternatives to ETECSA means that costs are likely to remain prohibitive for the vast majority of Cubans for the foreseeable future.

    • Yes, the public access points make it easier to connect, but there is only a single ISP: the Cuban national telecommunications monopoly, ETECSA. To use the Internet, you must buy their scratch-off cards at their offices, which involves waiting in line. You can then use them on your own devices or at the aging Windows machines at ETECSA's centers. The cost of access has dropped to $1.50/hour, but that's a lot of money in a country where the average monthly income is $25. If you are associated with one of the universities, particularly the Universidad de Ciencias Informaticas west of Havana, Internet access is reasonably good (and free), but outside of that, only about 4% of Cubans connect to the Internet. Others get information from "The Packet", whose managers download and assemble materials, including books, movies, news, etc., onto electronic media and make it available to all.

      The good news is that the Cuban government isn't blocking access to websites, and that smartphones are becoming more widely available, but the absence of alternatives to ETECSA means that costs are likely to remain prohibitive for the vast majority of Cubans for the foreseeable future.

      Sounds like figuring out a way to provide uncensored and free wireless internet access to Cubans by bypassing ETECSA would be a great project. I'm not really knowledgeable enough in this area to offer more than random ideas. Maybe crowd-sourcing the money for satellite internet? Relay ships in international waters off the Cuban coast? I know both of those are rather impractical and expensive, so does anyone have some actually good/practical ideas that might work?

      Strat

      • provide uncensored and free wireless internet access to Cubans

        Who told you it was censored?

      • by karuna ( 187401 )
        Providing internet connection without government's permission would be illegal and doing that one would certainly risk getting jailed. As I understand, currently the government doesn't care much about those who simply facilitate reach of ETECSA provided WiFi but any unlicenced satellite dishes are quickly dealth with. There is not much one can do until the Cuban government stops ETECSA monopoly and allows competition. The changes in this direction will be very slow, don't hold your breath. Abolishment of
        • Providing internet connection without government's permission would be illegal and doing that one would certainly risk getting jailed.

          I'd bet many would take the risk.

          but any unlicenced satellite dishes are quickly dealth with.

          Well then do it in a way that doesn't require big, easily-spotted satellite dishes. Super-powerful WiFi hardware on ships in international waters, maybe? Micro-drone swarms with WiFi mesh network capabilities and satellite internet linkage?

          There is not much one can do until the Cuban government stops ETECSA monopoly and allows competition.

          That's only true if one accepts defeat before one even begins to try to create solutions. Just look at Voice of America radio stations during the Cold War. This problem is not unsolvable, it just requires sufficient motivation and the will

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      The cost of access has dropped to $1.50/hour, but that's a lot of money in a country where the average monthly income is $25.

      Then maybe it's a good idea to do something about the latter instead of the former... I've paid more than that back in the dial-up days and that wasn't on an island that doesn't have any cheap ways to connect to the rest of the world.

  • Y cuáles son estos "gatos de LOL?"

Civilization, as we know it, will end sometime this evening. See SYSNOTE tomorrow for more information.

Working...