TECH
16/03/2015 11:53 GMT | Updated 16/03/2015 11:59 GMT

Cuba Gives Free WiFi To The People

A cultural centre in Havana has given local residents access to free-WiFi, a first for both Havana and Cuba.

The centre is owned and run by famed national artist Kcho who managed to negotiate the rare deal with state telecoms provider Etecsa.

Since launching, Associated Press reports that dozens of teenagers have flocked to the site to make use of the slow, but steady WiFi connection.

According to Kcho, the internet that's being provided to the cultural arts centre is part of his own personal allowance.

cuba internet

National internet is extremely sparse in Cuba with home broadband restricted to the minute number of people that can afford the hundreds of dollars a month that the state-run telecoms agency charges.

"This is an unusual thing, and it's only possible through the will to do it and absorb the costs," Kcho told The Associated Press. "It is expensive, but the benefit is tremendous. ... I have something that is great and powerful. I can share it, and I am doing so."

While only running at around 2Mbps, the centre has opened up a world of possibilities to the hundreds of local residents.

Adonis Ortiz is one such 20-year-old who, thanks to the free WiFi, is now able to video call his father in the US who he hasn't seen in person for nearly nine years.

Cuba has seen slow growth in the spread of internet connectivity. In January 2013, the country was given a huge boost thanks to the installation of an undersea fibre cable from Venezuela.

Since then however government authorities have been reluctant to relax their hold over the service with authorities pushing for more access in educational centres and the workplace.

At present most Cuban's are forced to go to internet cafe's where authorised outlets allow access for an hourly cost.