Cubans denounce US blockade damages to communications system

Cuban communications workers denounced on Tuesday the damages to the development of the sector caused by the US blockade, which in the last year were valued at over 55 million dollars.

At a hearing convened by the National Assembly of People's Power (Parliament) Services Committee, those present rejected the limitations on purchasing technologies, information flow and Internet access caused by the US blockade.

They also pointed out that the tightening of Washington's hostile policy impacts essential technological processes in the computerization of Cuban society.

The President of the Telecommunications Company of Cuba (ETECSA), Mayra Arevich, confirmed that this entity is the most affected by the blockade, since it is subject to almost 99 percent of the total amount of damages in the sector.

She also referred to the use by the United States of cyberspace to try to subvert the Cuban political and legal systems, a role for which Washington created the Internet Task Force for Cuba in 2018.

Arevich noted that Cuba was forced to spend over two billion dollars above price in the international market last year to purchase the necessary supplies for ETECSA, due to being unable to purchase goods from the United States.

  • Published in Cuba

ETECSA aspires to complete telephone digitalization in Villa Clara

The technological reconversion process from analog to digital telephone plants is progressing at a good rhythm in Villa Clara with a chronogram that will benefit even the clients of the most intricate towns in the region, with completion date on November 15.

In statements to ACN, Dianitsy Barreto Martinez, communication specialist at the Cuban Telecommunications Company S.A (ETECSA) in Villa Clara, explained that once the action plan is completed in November, in Cascajal and Rodrigo, both in Santo Domingo, the province will then have 100% of its telephone plants digitalized.

Since the technological reconversion works began in May in Carrillo, Remedios, there have been completed between two and three plants per month, and of a 15 analogical ones still in the area, only six remain today.

The technological change offers a better quality in communication, improved services of landline telephony, increased capacity of the plants and the influx of data traffic with the possibility of buying the service Nauta-Hogar to those customers who want it, Barreto Martinez explained.

Nowadays, the marketing process of outdoor plant capacities for landlines is being carried out in already digitalized areas, an aspect that will gradually increase, the executive concluded.

(ACN)

  • Published in Cuba

ETECSA Keystone of Computerization in Cuba

The Cuban television show Mesa Redonda, specialized in debates and opinion trends, was recently dedicated to “The Roads of Computerization in Cuba”. Several officials and experts from the Ministry of Computing and Telecommunications in Cuba participated among them was the First Vice Minister, Wilfredo Gonzalez.

In her intervention at the show, Tania Velázquez, Vice-president of ETECSA, reminded the important role of the Cuban telecommunications company in the computerization process, not only with the infrastructure but with the facilitation of services, she pointed out.

She offered a wide report on the achievements in the increase, diversification, and accessibility of these services since the beginning in year 2000 of the Internet access with the prioritized sectors and the boost three years later with the Internet Rooms.

Further on the process of widening the services she specified that in 2013 rates in Internet Rooms was 4.50 CUC per hour, and 0.60 cents for domestic navigation.

For year 2014 access via cell phones to Nauta Mail was introduced thus broadening the reach to more Cubans. That year did not only saw the widening of services to the population, but a drop in the tariff to 70% on the managerial sector because prices were an obstacle for those first steps, she quoted.

She referred that the Nauta mail offered to Cuban citizens in their cell phones at 1 CUC per hour had an important acceptance.

In 2015, ETECSA took an important step with the widening of Wi-Fi spots to wireless Wi-Fi areas, bringing them closer to the neighborhoods. "And when those wireless areas were opened we went from 4.50 CUC per hour to 2 CUC per hour, and the demand went up. Users not only found connections closer, but they also saw well a significant discount".

The vice-president remembered how 2016 was not only particular for continuing with the strategy of diversifying services enlarging Internet rooms and Wi-Fi spots, but also because in that year was ran the pilot test to begin the Nauta Hogar services and were applied tariff discounts up to 1.50 CUC per hour.

The following year the Nauta Hogar offer was broaden and discounts were applied to navigation tariffs, in this case international navigation while it continued the promotion to access to domestic contents.

Year 2018 brought along as important landmark, said Velázquez, the opening of Internet service in cell phones, and also in that year took place a special offer for rural towns in the case of Nauta Hogar.

  

She highlighted that Internet in cell phones was really one of the things that has boosted connectivity in the last few months. “We agree, she added, that people appreciate that it can be cheaper, but in these six months we have had an important use of that service."

The ETECSA official also mentioned the introduction of the 4G technology that not only improves the quality of Internet connection but it also provides a greater level of capacity. In this regard she mentioned that there is already a large number of BTS (Base Transceiver Station) that will continue to increase at some important places like tourist resorts, and economic social sites in general.

She mentioned that in this year the new tariff discount for the corporate sector: a cut down of almost the 50% of all connectivity tariffs, which also accompanies the process of computerization of society.

In her speech she highlighted that "We have already reach 5,5 million mobile lines in Cuba; 2,5 millions of them have data mobile access".

Along with Internet access in mobiles other navigation forms have expanded: by the end of this first semester we will also have a hundred new navigation areas between wired and wireless connections that add up to 1 427 Wi-Fi areas, including those in the neighborhoods, and those on hotels and institutions.

There are at present more than two million Nauta accounts and she expressed that there are more than 87 thousand houses connected by Nauta Hogar. This figure will increase with 40 thousand new Nauta Hogar services this year. Also in companies and institutions connections were increased in about 2 500 for a total of 42 000 connections in the entire managerial system.

As for the topic of mobile access, the vice-president commented that they are working some indicators that allow them a feedback regarding the quality of the service. This allows, she added, to monitor when to make tariff discounts and where to increase BTS, among other actions.

This year 3G BTS have increased in more than 400 and more than sixty 4G BTS. The coverage done so far is substantial in both the population and the territories, but it isn’t enough, she said.

By the end of this first semester nearly 2,5 millions Cubans will have Internet access from their mobiles.

Cuba: Computerizing in a Cybersecurity Environment

At the recent “Mesa Redonda” (Round Table), weekly television opinion and debate show dedicated this time to the subject of the “Roads of Computerization in Cuba”, Miguel Gutiérrez, Director of Information Technology of the Ministry of Communications, stressed the importance of replacing foreign-made applications by homemade ones.

“This measure eliminates imports for license payments and mobilizes our productive forces,” he said. The expert also referred to the protection of the personal data of Cuban Internet users.

He reiterated that steps are being taken in that extent to elaborate a norm –process led by the Ministry of Justice with the participation of other entities, and pointed out that the current juncture in the country allows to see this issue more comprehensively.

Gutiérrez dug deeper into future cybersecurity-related actions to provide the population with the necessary tools in that order.

“We should continue our efforts to increase cybersecurity culture in the population, in all workers, in all leaders. Everybody should have that culture”, he said.

In his speech, Gutiérrez also approached certain phenomena spread today that are linked, among others, to the dissemination of fake news and banal contents.

He explained that such a situation has an international scope, but several countries are already taking steps to reduce the proliferation of those contents.

He informed that in Cuba “We are also assessing how to act on that dangerous phenomenon.”

He specified that “It is not normal to consider ordinary that people access harmful contents that do not correspond with the aspirations of our society.”

The official announced that the entity is working to promote that people behave ethical and respectfully in the cyberspace, as they do in the real world. As for those who conceal or forge their identity in the cyberspace, he urged them to be authentic and maskless because that prevents our identity from being forged.

“They are matters to continue stressing to prevent the cyberspace from becoming something that is not in keeping with what we want to promote.”

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / CubaSi Translation Staff

Cuba to make further progress in computerization despite U.S. blockade

Everyone’s right to have access to technologies compels us to perform our duties for its proper use. ETECSA (Cuba’s Telecommunication Company) is making further progress in the expansion, diversification, and accessibility to services.

We will be making further progress in the computerization and cybersecurity of the nation despite the U.S. blockade as well as the economic constraints we are dealing with. It is our political will and there are facts to prove it.

These were some of the statements made by Deputy Minister of Communication Wilfredo Gonzalez at the TV program Mesa Redonda “Caminos para la informatización en Cuba (Road to the computerization of Cuba).”

When he referred to the core pillars of the computerization and cybersecurity programs in the Greatest of Antilles, Mr. Gonzalez pointed out that telecommunications and computerizations are both part of the strategic development of the country in the conception of Cuba’s economic, social, and political model.

He also noted that the computerization process, with all the opportunities and challenges it raises, depends highly on the economic and social priorities of the nation.

Technologies must complement the main changes made by the revolutionary process. Mr. Gonzalez also said that these changes must be done with a great deal of consciousness, responsibility with the intention of safeguarding the country’s defense and integrity.

Another key principle is Fidel’s concept of not excluding any citizen. In this regard, the Deputy Minister highlighted that ETECSA has created several spaces and opportunities to allow the accessibility to services with different and reasonable prices.

He recalled that the initial strategy focused on developing the very first investment in places with great amount of people, whereas critical sectors of the economy and society, including the media itself, were among the most benefited at first.

By illustrating with examples, he mentioned the community project of Joven Club — some of them enjoy 100+ Mb — and the development of the Internet access from universities. The 60% of Cubans enjoys nowadays free access to Internet from their works and schools.

He mentioned the development of an infrastructure with national digital services as another basic pillar in the computerization of the island. To achieve it, it was necessary the outstanding training of our specialists.

Therefore, he insisted on the need to develop platforms and national digital services that contribute not only to a better access, but also guarantee sovereignty.

He illustrated the aforementioned facts with the 2+ millions users of NAUTA email.

Transfermovil apk — developed by ETECSA in collaboration with Cuba’s National Bank — is another example. He said this is a very useful tool. However, it is not being massive yet. Today, only 200,000 citizens are using it despite the number of existing cash cards: 5 million.

As the fourth pillar in the computerization process, the First Deputy Minister noted that “it was necessary to develop all services, infrastructures, and resources so citizens could always have access to them.”

As ETECSA expands infrastructures, prices will drop.

As to prices, Mr. Gonzalez highlighted campaigns organized by the opposition to give rise to dissatisfaction towards ETECSA and the prices to navigate on the Internet.

They are the same people who support the U.S. blockade against Cuba and they are fueling somehow the constraint experienced by our country. Their job is quite subtle: “who is going to be opposed to lower ETECSA prices? But our government has explained in details this concept: as the company expands in capacities, prices will drop, simultaneously.”

He also talked about differentiated prices in the access to national content as there is a firm intention to boost this sort of navigation.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz/CubaSí Translation Staff

ETECSA offers web hosting services for natural persons

Cuban Telecommunications Company (ETECSA) will start marketing, as of today, the service of hosting of websites for natural people.

According to a press release from the entity's Institutional Communication Department, ETECSA's Data Center provides customers with a storage system of information, images or other accessible via web, guaranteeing its Internet presence pages with more direct and economic access from Cuba.

The offers of the service, adjustable to the interests and needs of the client, as well as as well as their characteristics, can be known by calling 118, Commercial Information or by consulting the website www.etecsa.cu, which can be accessed free of charge from the cell phone.

The expansion of Internet access routes for the population and the development of national content sites, as part of the computerisation strategy of the society, have promoted the demand for this service that was initially only available to the business sector.

  • Published in Cuba

Fire Causes Severe Damage to Telecom at the Center of Cuba

Santa Clara, Cuba, Jun 25 (Prensa Latina) A fire reported in one of the venues of the Telecommunications Company of Cuba (ETECSA) in this central city causes today severe damages to the coverage of cell phones on the island.

According to a press release issued by the entity, the incident occurred in a technological site of the Telecommunications Center of Villa Clara, which provokes serious damage to the cellular network in the west and center of the country.

The provinces of Villa Clara, Cienfuegos and Sancti Spiritus, in the center, as well as the western Pinar del Rio remain totally without cell coverage, ETECSA reported.

In addition, the number of services for mobile phones that begin with 54, 55 and 56 from any region of the country can be affected, according to the telecom company's statement.

Local radio reports point out that the source of the fire has not yet been clarified, which occurred in one of the most central buildings in Santa Clara, the capital of Villa Clara province, some 250 kilometers east of Havana.

At this moment, the causes are being identified and the contingency measures are taken, according to the authorities.

ETECSA will continue to inform the population through the mass media and the usual channels of information, as well as telephones 118 and 52642266, the company points out.

  • Published in Cuba

ETECSA is Helping Mourners too

The Telecommunications Company of Cuba (ETECSA) reinforces and facilitates communications for the families of the victims of the Boeing 737-200, which crashed on Friday with 113 people on board.

Quick and executively, following the guidelines of the Executive President of the Telecommunications Company of Cuba (ETECSA), Engineer Mayra Arevich Marín, ETECSA freed the calls made from the public phones, where these people stayed, as well as the medical staff, authorities and specialists linked to the clarification of the sad event.

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ETECSA workers at Tulipán Hotel, which accomodates the relatives of the victims of the plane crash that killed 110 people.

Likewise, and as it was right in such a circumstance, in which they all join shoulders, the company gave these people a recharge GSM (mobile recharge coupon) coupon free of charge.

“In every hand that we reached out to deliver a coupon, we tried to leave the warmth of our solidarity”, pointed out on his Facebook, Javier Ferreira Herrera, head of the Commercial Department of the North Territorial Management of the Havana Division.

Like him, other ETECSA workers decided to support the mourners with the logistical possibilities of the company from that first night. That was, for example, the case of Leidy Díaz Castillo, commercial executive of the Mini Sale Spot of Cerro and Boyeros.

“She hadn’t had time to reach her house back from work”, she tells Cubasi, when a call indicated to her that a new mission awaited her, this time at the Legal Medicine Institute. Firstly there and then at Calixto Garcia Hospital, she delivered the free cards that would allow those people overwhelmed by the tragedy to continue making phone calls.

From that night, Leidy recalls the faces of silent pain that watched her, when she offered them that aid, minimal compared with such huge losses. “I watched their speechless faces and thought about my 20-year-old daughter”, she says.

From social networks, many ETECSA workers have echoed both solidarity and support: “I did not expect less from our enterprise, giving support to those who need it, I am proud of being part of it, thank you!!!”, Eddy David Amaya Abreu says.

Zaymi Blanco Javier, on behalf of all Cubans is grateful for the attention that is offered right now to the victims’ relatives and adds: “I am sure that all commercial executives of the company are willing to collaborate at any time they need us. My condolences to the relatives and thank you again”.

Among the condolences and support phrases that continue to flood Facebook people can also read the one posted by another ETECSA worker, Elisa Alfaro, which could well summarize the feeling that encourages all Cubans today: “In Havana, in Holguin and throughout #Cuba, ETECSA joins the pain of all and as always it puts its resources and services in terms of those who need them before an event of this magnitude. We facilitate services, doctors fight to save the survivors, the people acted with discipline, the press informs minute by minute…., this is #Cuba, this is #ETECSA, this is how we are. #StrengthCuba”.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

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