Cuba Joins 21st Century, Prepares To Gouge Citizens With Pricey Public Wi-Fi

If you want a good cigar, go to Cuba. But if you want Wi-Fi Internet access, Cuba should be one of the last destinations on your list, though that may soon change. Here's the thing -- Internet access in Cuba is mostly only available to government officials or in the form of expensive hourly public access. However, there are plans to offer wireless service for the first time ever starting sometime this month.

At present, Internet access is hard to come by in Cuba. Outside of government employees, Internet access is mostly made available to locals such as journalists, doctors, and athletes, and anyone who wants to use their own router for a Wi-Fi signal must first seek permission from the Communications Ministry.

Internet Cafe
Image Source: Flickr (Andreas Cappell)

According to, Cuba is planning to offer wireless Internet connections on a limited basis through state-run Etecsa in Santiago de Cuba. Unfortunately, it will still be expensive for residents, costing $4.5 an hour, the same rate as offered at public Internet cafes.

The majority of Cubans make less than $20 per month, so just one hour of Wi-Fi access amounts to a huge chunk of their pay. It's one of the reasons why only 3.4 percent of homes in Cuba have Internet access -- it's just too expensive with too many hurdles.

While this move is a step in the right direction, expect tech savvy individuals to continue leeching off of unsecured signals, or even secured ones that they've been able to crack.
Tags:  Internet, Cuba, wi-fi