Friday, October 1, 2010

Few Cubans have Internet access. Some rely on black market

La Rampa in Havana

Less than 3 percent of Cubans used the Internet during the past year, a new survey shows.
That would put Cuba behind Africa, where more than 5 percent of the people use the Internet.
Gallup surveyed 116 countries last year and found that Internet connectivity was highest in Sweden, where 88 percent of the people have access to the Internet at home.
The United States ranked 10th with 81 percent.
Cuba wasn't surveyed. Only 17 countries in the Gallup survey had connectivity rates of 2 percent or less.
They were:
Yemen, Uganda, Nicaragua, India, Senegal, Tajikistan, Malawi, Comoros, Bangladesh, Ivory Coast, Congo (Kinshasa), Mali, Burundi, Rwanda, Niger, Cameroon and Cambodia.
When I was in Cuba this summer, blogger Claudia Cadelo told me that many Cubans use friends' connections to access the Internet. Cubans also buy and sell passwords and account.
You can get a glimpse of the thriving market for Internet access on the Revolico website.
Below are a few ads I found on the site this morning. This first ad offers Internet access 24 hours a day for 160 convertible Cuban pesos:
Internet 24 Horas Full Time/Full Acces
Precio: 160 cuc
Fecha: Jueves, 30 de Septiembre del 2010, 11:57 PM
llamar al 053453229
This ad, reproduced in part below, offers Internet use for 75 Cuban cents per hour. It tells people they'll be using a shared line, but "you can do what you want, except enter pornographic sites or sites of a political nature."
Violate the rules and you lose the account and your money, the ad warns.
Alquilo Cuenta de Internet (La más barata) 0.75cuc/hora
Precio: 0.57 cuc
Fecha: Viernes, 1 de Octubre del 2010, 4:41 AM
Alquilo Cuenta de Internet

La velocidad promedio es de 31.2 kbps, días más alta y días más baja, saben que esto depende en gran medida de la calidad de las líneas de teléfonos en donde vivan, tiene proxy pero pueden hacer lo que quieran, a excepción de entrar a sitios pornográficos, ó sitios de carácter político, permito que se comparta la cuenta con terceras personas pero con previa información. Infringir en cualquiera de estas violaciones les suspendo la cuenta en el acto y pierden el dinero

Interesados de verdad, que tengan el dinero del alquiler para pagar el mes con antelación y al menos la vallan a tenerla alquilada como mínimo 3 meses (es por tiempo indefinido, depende de ustedes), escriban a

Finally, there's this ad, in which someone offers to pay 200 convertible Cuban pesos to take over an existing Internet account.
Compro cuenta de Enet de 30 horas o de 80 horas en 200 cuc
Precio: 200 cuc
Fecha: Jueves, 30 de Septiembre del 2010, 12:55 PM
Todo aquel que no valla a usar mas su cuenta de Enet se la compro en 200 cuc. Interesados escribir al correo


Anonymous said...

"enter revolico"

Yeah! except if youre in Cuba where its blocked (or accessible only if you use 'anonimizer/triangualtion' programs)

Bring on the Venezuelan cable!! (but we're not holding our breath)

alongthemalecon said...

One of these days, I'm sure Cuba will have better, faster Internet connections. But I'm not sure when that'll be.
I remember dealing with the frustrations of a dial-up connection while in Cuba. Microsoft software updates would take all night! I'd just start the download before going to bed and hope that the damn update would be on my computer the next morning. It didn't always work. Later I had an ISDN connection. That was better, but nowhere near as fast as broadband.
It's amazing that Revolico is such a heavily trafficked site despite it being blocked in Cuba. Many people must be working around the government's efforts to block it.