Cuba denies media reports of WiFi roll out in second largest city

Santiago De Cuba

Calle Aguilera walkway is the busiest pedestrian street in Santiago 2nd largest Cuban city.

HAVANA, Cuba, Thursday January 15, 2015, CMC – Cuba says it will not be offering wireless service in its second largest city Santiago de Cuba, as previously reported.

State run telecommunications provider Etecsa clarified that a new “intranet” WiFi service was being installed but would only be available at select official sites, such as a city recreational center and a network of youth cyber clubs.

The Union of Cuban Journalists, a government association, had reported on its website that wireless service would become available this month in a limited rollout in Santiago de Cuba at $4.50 per hour.

However Etecsa, in a statement published in the state-run newspaper, Granma (Spanish), said information was “false and had not been issued by the company.”

In Cuba, Internet is largely limited to government offices and pricey pay-by-the-hour access at cafes and hotels, allows only some locals such as journalists, doctors and athletes to have Internet at home.

But anyone who wants their own router for a wifi signal needs permission from the Communications Ministry first.

Last year, 3.4 percent of homes in Cuba had Internet access, one of the world’s lowest rates, according to international technology authorities.

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