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Cuba Testing 3G Internet Access

ETECSA, Cuba’s monopoly ISP, has been running free tests of their forthcoming mobile access. It seems that the latest test is over for now, but Andy Garcia (@Dancuba96) ran a speed test before it ended:




ETECSA has not announced when commercial 3G service will commence, where it will be available at first and what it will cost, but the following image at the start of the @ETECSA_Cuba Twitter page suggests that the service will begin soon and they are serious about mobile #Internet access.

This history of Cuban mobile connectivity puts the current 3G expansion in the context of earlier mobile offerings.

The following image from the ETECSA_Cuba Facebook page shows three-speed tiers—1, 2 and 3 Mbps.

One to three Mbps connectivity using a mobile device is fine for consuming and sharing content, but not for content creation. I hope Cuba regards 3G as an interim, stopgap measure and they are planning to leapfrog over today’s technology to roll out next-generation technology when it and they are ready. For example, one can imagine Cuba jumping from 3G to 5G community networks.

Cuban 3G access is a positive step—it will scale better than their current WiFi hotspots and navigation rooms—and be more convenient, but the prices may favor access to the Cuban national intranet over access to the global Internet, creating a “walled garden” with all of its shortcomings.

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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