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Cubans plug in as internet access spreads

Friday, December 30, 2016 - 01:22

More Cubans are getting access to the internet, a rarity in a country with one of the lowest internet penetration rates in the world. Laura Frykberg reports.

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For many of us, internet access is something we take for granted. At home, at work and on our daily commute. But here on the island of Cuba it's harder to come by. Just five percent of the country has it at home Most people go to public WIFI spots to use it - which can be expensive. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) HAVANA RESIDENT, JOSE GONZALEZ, SAYING: "For everyone, it should be for everyone. Internet should be in every home." For 2,000 people in Havana at least - that's beginning to happen. Under a new government project they're having WIFI installed in their homes. One of them is 67-year old retired university professor, Margarita Marquez. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) RESIDENT, MARGARITA MARQUEZ, SAYING: "It's a dream come true for me. I had some things at university that I always wanted to have at home and one of them was the Internet. If for nothing else, than sending emails to my friends and family." Cuba has one of the lowest internet penetration rates in the world. The government says that's down to U.S. trade blocks which keep infrastructure costs high. Critics have a simpler view - they say the government doesn't want to lose control. Whatever the reason, WIFI hotspots like this are frequently busy. The online world capturing the attention of Cubans, no matter how picturesque the real one may be.

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Cubans plug in as internet access spreads

Friday, December 30, 2016 - 01:22