Champagne, caviar and Internet in Cuba

Posted on May 29, 2013  /  0 Comments

It seems to be the high time to compare the state of telecoms between North Korea and Cuba.

Cuba’s average salary is US$20 a month and it costs $4.5 per hour to surf the net, which is also heavily filtered – said a report of BBC. It means, the Cuban net users burn 25% of their average national wage in an hour.

Cuba has activated her first submarine cable early this year, according to Renesys. The latter was, however, apprehensive about the affordability of Internet.

We believe it is likely that Telefonica’s service to ETECSA is, either by design or misconfiguration, using its new cable asymmetrically (i.e., for traffic in only one direction), similar to the situation we observed in Lebanon in 2011. In such a configuration, ETECSA enjoys greater bandwidth and lower latencies (along the submarine cable) when receiving Internet traffic but continues to use satellite services for sending traffic. While the activation of the ALBA-1 cable may be a good first step to providing ETECSA a better link to the Internet, the lack of widespread public access to Internet service throughout the island will likely continue.

Martyn Warwick of paints a surreal picture:

Hitherto. the man and woman in the Cuban street has effectively been unable to gain any access to the Internet because the web has been the preserve of the government and Party elite, some businesses, overseas companies (predominantly Spanish) and foreign tourists. Holidaymakers staying in Cuba’s idiosyncratic hotels are routinely charged an arm and a leg for the privilege of having slow and spasmodic access to a sub-set of the Web.

Here is Martyn’s full report.

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