posted at 20:50
Author Name: Alexandre Grosbois
Internet in Cuba only for the rich
In 2013, only 3.4 percent of Cuban households were connected to the Internet, according to the International Telecommunication Union, which rates the connectivity of countries. Since June last year, the Cuban authorities have gone a small way to affording the island's 11.3 million population a rare chance to access the Internet, opening about 100 centers for the public to get online. At $4.5 per hour, rates are prohibitively expensive in a country where the average monthly wage is around $20. Previously, only hotels could offer the Internet to the public, but again with a prohibitive rate of up to $10 an hour that only foreign visitors could afford. "Cuba remains one of the most restrictive countries in the world in terms of Internet freedom," Sanja Tatic Kelly, project director for Freedom on the Net, at the American NGO Freedom House, told AFP. The more tech-savvy Cubans have found a way around that too, downloading software that can hide their IP addresses to avoid detection and mislead snooping eyes into thinking they are surfing the net in another country. Cuba's rulers say they need to keep a tight rein on the Internet to protect the island from cyberattacks. Over 18 months, Havana has been the victim of cyberattacks from thousands of addresses registered in over 150 countries, according to deputy minister of communications Wilfredo Gonzalez. "Cuba does not register as one of the leading countries experiencing cyberattacks," she said, citing data from online security experts Kaspersky Lab, which ranks Cuba 199th in terms of countries hit with counterattacks.

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