HAVANA – An average of 200,000 people a day access the Internet from Cuba’s 85 public Wi-Fi hotspots, executives of state telecom monopoly Etecsa said.
The figure is up from 150,000 users a day in December.
Jorge Luis Legra, Etecsa’s director for strategic programs, said on state television that the company has already created a score of new hotspots since Jan. 1 and plans to establish at least 60 more over the course of this year.
Etecsa will also open 100 new Internet cafes in 2016, he said.
The Wi-Fi hotspots are one of Etecsa’s most popular programs to increasing connectivity in Cuba, which has one of the world’s lowest levels of Internet penetration.
Legra said the results of a pilot program to provide residential Internet service in Havana remain inconclusive, adding that offering home access to the Web would require a major investment.
Currently, the Cuban government limits home access to the Internet to members of a handful of professions, including medicine, journalism and academia.
Etecsa was operating 345 Internet cafes nationwide – equipped with 11,187 computers – as of the end of last year, Legra said.
Google recently opened its first technology center in Cuba in the Havana studio of artist Alexis Leyva, better known as Kcho, offering no-cost access to the Internet at much faster speeds than those normally available on the island.
The Google + Kcho.Mor center will give Cubans a chance to familiarize themselves with the latest generation of gadgets from the U.S. technology giant, such as the cardboard virtual reality goggles for use with mobile devices
Etecsa is providing the Internet connection, though at much faster speeds than those available at its public Wi-Fi hotspots.