Google has arrived in Cuba, one of the world’s most internet-restrictive nations.
The internet browsing powerhouse announced it launched servers in Cuba allowing current internet users faster search and storage of Google content, like You Tube videos. The bad news is that internet access remains restricted and expensive on the island nation and Google’s arrival does not change any of that.
Google is making history by becoming the first foreign company to provide online content in Cuba. This feat started four months ago when Google announced a partnership with the Cuban government’s owned national telecommunication company ETECSA. Prior to this agreement ETECSA connected Cubans to the internet through underwater cable from Venezuela.
The ability to store content locally means it will arrive faster on someone’s phone and computer. Unfortunately few Cubans have access, approximately 5 percent of the population, to the internet which costs an estimated $1.50 an hour via public Wi-Fi hot spots. Cubans typically purchase an internet access card costing around $2, $1.50 for the hour of access through a pin code and then$.50 for the card itself. You must then take your computer or more likely your phone to a public Wi-Fi spot to use the internet. With monthly wages stuck at $25 per month internet cards are a luxury.
The creation of these paid public Wi-Fi hot spots is relatively new only allowed by the government since 2015. Then what locals can browse on the internet is heavily censored and no one including Google can change that for now!
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