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Pricey but worth it: Cubans finally surf the Web

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Posted June 28, 2013

Cuban teacher Nancy Garcia would love to surf the Web at home. But since that is restricted in this communist country, she now logs on from new hotspots—at a price few can afford.

“I don’t stay long so as not to throw money out the window,” said the 53-year-old as she checked her email near the Havana waterfront at one of the island’s 118 new public access Internet points, open for several weeks now.

With only doctors, journalists and certain other professionals able to connect from home, Cuba has one of the lowest numbers of Web users in all of Latin America: just 2.6 million in 2011, out of a population of 11.1 million.

With few other options, Garcia and hundreds like her have been flocking to the new government-created hotspots to check email, connect to social media and browse websites. That’s if they can pay for it.

At the cost of $4.50 an hour, down from $6 previously, the Internet remains out of reach for most Cubans whose monthly salary barely scratches the $20 mark.

“There will always be those who can afford to pay but there will always be more who can’t,” said Garcia, who previously trekked to one of the city’s hotels to go online, forking out over $10 an hour for a painfully slow connection.

“It’s incredibly expensive,” agreed Deisy Perez, an actress and owner of a private restaurant who came to see if she could order audio and video material for her establishment.

Read more at: Phys.org

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