Cuba announced plans on Thursday to open 35 public WiFi hotspots and halve the price to go online, seeking to expand Internet access in one of the world’s least-connected countries.
State telecoms firm Etecsa said the hotspots, a first for the country, would be set up nationwide and begin service next month.
It is “a first step toward increasing Internet access,” Etecsa communications director Luis Manuel Diaz told a state newspaper.
Etecsa had previously offered public WiFi in a small pilot program, and unstable illegal connections periodically appear and disappear in Cuba.
To access the official hotspots, users will have to create an account with Etecsa for US$1.50 and pay an hourly connection fee.
Etecsa also announced that it was reducing the price to access the Internet to US$2 an hour, down from the current promotional rate of US$2.50 and the long-time rate of US$4.50.
It did not say whether the same rate would apply to the new WiFi connections.
Since 2013, Cuba has had 155 public Internet cafes where users can go online for the hourly rate.
However, the price is steep in a country where the average salary is US$20 a month.
Home Internet access is restricted to members of certain professions, such as journalists, doctors and students.
According to the International Telecommunications Union, just 3.4 percent of Cuban homes were online in 2013.
Cuban President Raul Castro’s government has said it wants all Cubans to have Internet access by 2020.
US President Barack Obama has named increased Internet access for the island as one of the goals of the historic thaw between Washington and Havana announced in December last year.
Polytronics Technology Corp (聚鼎科技) yesterday announced that it is buying Henkel AG’s thermal clad dielectric material (TCLAD) business division for US$26 million as the Taiwanese firm aims to improve its technology, product portfolio and revenue performance. Polytronics, headquartered in the Hsinchu Science Park (新竹科學園區), is a supplier of protection components and heat dissipation materials. The firm entered the metallic heat-dissipation substrate market in 2007 and developed a unique solventless production process. Its board of directors approved signing an agreement with Henkel to acquire the German chemical firm’s TCLAD division in the US. The purchase includes all assets and business interests, including equipment,
SIZE MATTERS: Medium-sized hotels that do not have the support of parent groups are more vulnerable and are forced to take action, a REPro Knight Frank researcher said About 50 hotels across Taiwan are seeking to exit the market as they succumb to the bleak business outlook amid international travel restrictions imposed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Yomi Hotel (優美飯店) on Minsheng E Road, Sec 1, in Taipei is seeking to transfer ownership with an asking price of NT$950 million (US$32.15 million) and a pledge for a lease contract that guarantees a 3 percent return. The budget hotel, with room rates that start from NT$1,400 per night, maintains normal operations, but has been struggling since March, when the government placed restrictions on inbound and outbound travel. Occupancy rates for hotels in
With the US dollar expected to weaken in the next 12 months due to near-zero interest rates, investors should consider purchasing US corporate bonds, Standard Chartered Bank Taiwan Ltd (渣打台灣銀行) said on Thursday. The bank said that the US Federal Reserve since last month has been buying bonds issued by US companies to curb default rates. The US dollar is forecast to be weaker against the pound, the euro and the yen, as well as the Canadian dollar, the Swedish krona and the Swiss franc, as the greenback lacks high investment returns after the Fed in March slashed the benchmark interest rate
‘SENSITIVE MARKETS’: The previously unannounced project would involve the company handing over control of data to a third party to sidestep privacy concerns Google has abandoned plans to offer a major new cloud service in China and other politically sensitive countries due in part to concerns over geopolitical tensions and the COVID-19 pandemic, two employees familiar with the matter said, revealing the challenges for US tech giants to secure business in those markets. In May, the search giant shut down the initiative, known as “Isolated Region” and which sought to address nations’ desires to control data within their borders, the employees said. The action was considered a “massive strategy shift,” said one of the employees, who added that Isolated Region had involved hundreds of employees