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Cuba on Advances in the “Computerization of Society”

A recent televised roundtable enumerated advances in the computerization of Cuban society, including:

• Telephone density is 58% with 6.5 million accounts, 5.2 million of which are cell phones.

• 1.5 million people access Nauta mail with cell phones.
Over 1.7 million have permanent accounts.

• There are 1,713 public-access spots: 709 WiFi locations, over 700 at ETECSA premises and the same number in third-party locations (but 709+1400 is 2109, not 1,713).

• There are over 37,000 Nauta Hogar accounts, 22,000 of which were installed this year, and they hope to install another 30,000 by the end of the year.

• Nauta Hogar is available in 136 municipalities and 22 percent of the Popular Councils.

• They have installed a lot of fiber.

• There are over 1,400 cellular base stations and over 520 of them are 3G compatible.

• There are 935 ATMs, serving all provinces, but only 69 municipalities.

• There are currently 11,500 point-of-sale terminals, mainly in retail stores.

• UCI is working on “RED Cuba” a search service for all national intranet content.

• UCI has a service for monitoring over 1,500 national intranet Web sites—presumably monitoring traffic, not content.

• Apklis, the online application center for Android devices, will serve as an alternative to the Google Play store for Cuban applications.

• An e-government application for the collection and management of fines has been installed in 198 offices.

A few tentative observations come to mind. They are continuing to stress the national Cuban intranet with applications like Apkis and RED Cuba. Nauta Hogar is attractive to a subset of people and small businesses who can afford it and are located in served areas, but it will not reach the mass population—for that, they are counting on 3G cellular and public-access spots.

Here is the roundtable video:

By Larry Press, Professor of Information Systems at California State University

He has been on the faculties of the University of Lund, Sweden and the University of Southern California, and worked for IBM and the System Development Corporation. Larry maintains a blog on Internet applications and implications at cis471.blogspot.com and follows Cuban Internet development at laredcubana.blogspot.com.

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