Cuba launches 1st public Wi-Fi hotspots on Havana avenue

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

HAVANA (AP) — Cuban authorities have launched public Wi-Fi hotspots along an avenue that is the heart of the capital's cultural and social life.

It's the first step in government promises to gradually roll out such connectivity options on an island that the Internet revolution has largely passed by.

Authorities have been installing the hotspots along 23rd Street in the Vedado neighborhood in recent weeks, and they apparently went live Wednesday night.

Dozens of people, many of them young, were checking out the service Thursday morning with smartphones, tablets and laptops.

Sixteen-year-old Angel Padron called the signal speed "acceptable," robust enough to view videos on YouTube.

Users need to have an account registered with state telecom monopoly Etecsa. The service costs $2 an hour.