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Living Near A Wifi Area Is Like Winning The Lottery

Living Near A Wifi Area Is Like Winning The Lottery / 14ymedio, Yosmany
Mayeta Labrada

14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta Labrada, Havana, 30 April 2016 – Like an
arbitrary lottery, Havanans dream of having a WiFi zone installed near
their homes. These outdoor places to connect raise the price per square
foot of real estate in the immediate vicinity and help local businesses
flourish. Speculations about where the new wireless antennas will be
placed absorb everyone’s interest.

The local division of the Cuban Telecommunications Company SA (ETECSA)
told local media on Thursday that they are currently working in
different districts in the capital to open ten new public WiFi areas, in
a first step to meet the commitments for this year.

Engineer Iris M. Duran Fonseca, a specialist in ETECSA’s Marketing,
Communication and Business Management Support division, said the new
service will benefit the municipalities of Plaza de la Revolucion, La
Lisa, Centro Habana, Habana del Este, Arroyo Naranjo, Boyeros and 10 de

Arroyo Naranjo currently has one of these areas in Santa Amalia Park,
where hundreds of people connect to the internet daily to communicate
through social networks or by Imo, an application that lets you chat in
real time with family abroad.

Alejandro, a young student in high school, told 14ymedio the advantages
offered by this connectivity, despite the high price, which is 2.25 CUC
(about $2.25 US) per hour of navigation. “I come every day,” he claimed,
since he discovered that he could connect near his house. “Always in the
evenings, because I go to school in the mornings and then I communicate
with la pura (his mother) who lives in Spain,” he said.

The Mantilla Council in Arroyo Naranjo has been one of the outlying
areas visited by ETECSA’s WiFi implementation specialists. El Parque de
la Leche, on Caballero Street, between Pizarro and Ponce de Leon, is
where the new technology will be installed. To that end, the park is in
the first phase of a total refurbishment.

Yolanda, a retired teacher and resident of the area, says that since
they put the first WiFi antennas in the capital she has been able to
communicate with her son who lives in the United States. “Now with this
Samsung phone he sent me I can see and talk to him; he left in 1994 and
since then has not come over to the island,” she explains.

Neighbors near the park highlighted the need to rescue this completely
abandoned place. “This may be a better option,” said Sergio Mendez, who
feels happy because the “area is coming alive.”

“They will have to light the place well and also fix the access roads,
because they are in poor condition,” insisted Elena, an executive member
of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR).

The custodian of Mantilla park criticized the instability of the
builders in this first phase. “They come one day then don’t come the
next, and so the work scheduled to be completed later this year will
never be completed. If they aren’t consistent in their work, the effort
will be in vain,” he said.

Food vendors see the WiFi zone as a chance to improve their businesses.
“There will be more people here, so soft drinks, food and the navigation
cards will be in greater demand,” said Rosi, who sells sandwiches and
milkshakes a few yards from the park.

The ETECSA communication specialist said it was necessary to “evaluate a
set of elements according to the Board of Management of each territory
and other agencies such as the National Police, the Electric Basic
Organization and local representatives of Communal Services.” However,
she said that neighboring towns have been included, some rural, in order
to improve the communication services of their residents.

A director of the Arroyo Naranjo Council of the Municipal Administration
told this newspaper that Mantilla Park was selected because it was
located in a marginal area and has considered very dangerous. “Now we
have to take steps to eliminate crime a little, lighting the area,
putting surveillance cameras and constant control of the police in the
area, which will reduce the tragic reports quite a bit,” he said.

So far, in Havana there are 17 public WiFi areas already equipped with
lighting and with improved amenities. In early February, the
newspaper Granma reported that the capital will have 30 new WiFi areas
this year, two more for each municipality.

ETECSA also announced that in the coming months it will enable
connectivity in at least three parks for each province and in other
sites with a large influx of people, such as recreational and cultural
centers. However, managers clarify that it will be done when the
conditions exist to install the necessary technology and when they can
guarantee both the comfort and security of Internet users.

Source: Living Near A Wifi Area Is Like Winning The Lottery / 14ymedio,
Yosmany Mayeta Labrada – Translating Cuba –

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