Cubans say prices too high at new Internet centers

Havana, June 5 (IANS/EFE) Cubans had their first experience Tuesday of the island’s new web browsing services with the opening of 118 new Internet centers nationwide, though the price of being online was still too expensive for most citizens.

That was the chief complaint that several users expressed to EFE after trying out the new services at centers in Havana.

An hour online costs the equivalent of $4.50.

“You can surf the web fine, but it’s pretty expensive,” said Roy, a young computer technician who accessed his page on Facebook at a downtown center in Old Havana.

Noel Antunez, 53, had a similar impression – he had just returned to Cuba after working several years in Cape Verde where, he recalled, an hour on the Internet at any center cost less than 1 euro ($1.30).

After spending an hour at one of the new centers in the Vedado neighbourhood, where he was able to chat online with friends and look up the bank account he still has in Cape Verde, Antunez told EFE that the expansion of Internet service in Cuba is positive and a “great advance” but “it’s still a little costly for what Cubans can afford”.

With regard to the quality, these same users agreed that surfing speed is very good and that they had no problem accessing the web sites they wanted to visit.

EFE found at some of these centers that surfing the Internet was faster than is usual on the island and it was possible to visit without any problem the online editions of media like Miami’s El Nuevo Herald.

Internet access from the home continues to be restricted on the island.



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