Thursday, April 6, 2017

Cuba’s Phone Company Lowers Home Internet Prices After Customer Complaints

Cuba's Phone Company Lowers Home Internet Prices After Customer Complaints

14ymedio, Havana, 5 April 2017 – After complaints from customers, the
Telecommunications Company of Cuba (ETECSA) lowered internet browsing
prices for its "Nauta Home" service. A few weeks after the pilot test,
only 358 users have signed up for the service, 41% of whom who
participated in the pilot project.

The pilot offered the service for free, bringing the internet to 858
homes in two People's Councils areas of Old Havana, between 19 December
2016 and 28 February of this year. Initially the pilot was designed to
include some 2,000 families.

At first, ETECSA marketed 30-hour internet packages for a price of
between 15 and 105 Cuban convertible pesos (CUC) (roughly the same value
in US dollars), at speeds ranging from 128 kilobytes to 2 Mb. However,
as of 30 March, the minimum package has doubled the speed to 256 Kbps at
the same price.

The 512 Kbps package now costs 30 CUC — more than the average monthly
wage in Cuba — and the 1,024 Kbps costs 50 CUC, with 2,048 Kbps going
for 70 CUC, a reduction of 40 percent; but the prices remain prohibitive
for most Cubans.

The engineer Amarelys Rodríguez Sánchez, head of the Nauta Home Project,
told the official press that during the test, issues such as contracting
and service assistance were evaluated, as well as "the quality of the

"The study has raised demand for wireless modems," said the engineer,
who added that customers also demanded that "rates be more affordable"
and that there be a tool that allows them to "measure the speed at which
they are surfing."

The initial cost of a contract will now be 29 CUC: 19 for the purchase
of the ADSL modem, and 10 CUC for the activation of user access.

Customers wishing to use more connection time will pay an additional
1.50 CUC for each extra hour.

Until now, web browsing from home was only allowed for a select group of
professionals such as doctors, journalists, intellectuals or academics,
who needed government authorization to have the service.

Rodríguez justified the high rates because of "all the investments that
must be deployed" by the company. "Fiber optic infrastructure solutions
are very expensive, as is implementing a project that requires
multiservice equipment."

To continue expanding the service ETECSA needs to "make specific
investments on fixed and mobile networks," she said.

By the end of 2017, the company plans to have installed at least 38,000
internet connections in the island's homes.

Source: Cuba's Phone Company Lowers Home Internet Prices After Customer
Complaints – Translating Cuba -

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