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Cuba is bringing public Wi-Fi to its second-largest city

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But it'll cost a lot for just a little access

Stewart Cutler / Flickr

Only a small percentage of the Cuban population currently has access to the internet, but that may be starting to change. According to the Union of Journalists of Cuba, the state-run telecom provider ETECSA plans to begin offering Wi-Fi service in Santiago de Cuba — the country's second largest city. That'll make accessing the internet somewhat easier for its residents, who typically have to use computers and connections at schools, offices, or government facilities. The fact that Wi-Fi will allow residents to connect phones and tablets should also be a big help, as those devices can be far less expensive than a traditional computer.

Even with Wi-Fi, internet access will still not be widely accessible. A fairly slow internet connection will reportedly cost $4.50 per hour — a prohibitively expensive price for many in a country where the average monthly income is just $20. That price apparently isn't even out of line with typical internet charges in the country, which may be double that or more in some locations. Still, accessible Wi-Fi will be a big change. The AFP reports that citizens typically need government approval in order to install a router, and generally only people of certain occupations — such as doctors and journalists — are even allowed to get internet at home. However slowly, Cuba is beginning to open up, and this is certainly a step in that direction.