Cuba tries offering home internet access

Locals won't always have to go to public hotspots.

Reuters/Enrique de la Osa TPX Images of the Day

It's all well and good that Google is offering faster access to its services in Cuba, but there's a glaring problem: most Cubans have to go out of their way to use them. Home internet access isn't an option, so most residents have to either crowd around public WiFi hotspots or sit down at an internet terminal. Things are looking up, though: Cuba's state-owned telecom ETECSA is launching a trial for home internet access. About 2,000 homes in Havana will go online for at least two months, with promises that the test will expand if it goes well during the initial period.

The trial coincides with a 25 percent lower internet access fee.

This isn't quite as earthshaking as it sounds at first. The Cuban government is still fond of censoring content, and its internet speeds are sluggish relative to those of neighboring countries. And when services like Netflix can consume a large chunk of a typical Cuban's wages, locals will likely have to be content with free online material. Nonetheless, this is a big leap forward for a country where internet access is a relatively rare luxury.