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Cuban households test free Internet access

Some 2,000 Cuban households are getting to grips with free Internet access as part of a government-run pilot scheme in downtown Havana.

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Cuban households test free Internet access

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Some 2,000 Cuban households are getting to grips with free Internet access as part of a government-run pilot scheme in downtown Havana.

Cuba has one of the lowest online connectivity rates in the world. Just five percent of its 11.2 million residents is estimated to have home Web access.

Most Cubans can only access the Internet through public wi-fi hotspots.

Leonor Franco and her sister, Margarita Lopez, were among those chosen to take part in the trial.

“I had never had any experience with the Internet, not even with computers. I’ve only had the computer for two years. Before that (I had) a typewriter. I’m a typist, but with a typewriter. But a computer, just two years ago. It changed my life,” said Leonor.

Margarita was equally enthusiastic.

“It’s wonderful. It’s a dream come true for me. I had some things at the university where I worked that I always wanted to have at home and one of them was the Internet. If for nothing else, just to be able to send emails with my friends and family. That’s important,” she said.

ETECSA, the island nation’s state telecoms company, is offering free Internet access until the end of February to assess the feasibility of nationwide connectivity.

It has now also reduced the Web connection fee by 25 percent.