Internet access in Cuba – ONE’s Data

Posted: May 26, 2014 by jennroig in Articles, English
Tags: , ,

These days I’m taking an online course in Data Journalism organized by the European Journalism Center (EJC). So far, it feels like the professors are telling me obvious things that I wasn’t able to deduce by myself. What I mean is: they are doing a great job explaining in very simple, down-to-Earth terms, contents about the convergence between numbers and stories that Data Journalism is.  So, I’m really enjoying this experience.

Today I was playing around with some stats from the Cuban National Statistics Office -Yes, the numbers are official and the office is government run, so it’s up to the reader the extent to which the data can be believable.

I used a free tool made available by Datawrapper:

The table is here.

Internet Accessibility in Cuba. – This data is made available by the Cuban National Stats Office (ONE)

Year Total Internet Accounts Total Internet Users
1998 3,455 22 694
1999 2,882 42 159
2000 2,996 73 164
2001 6,581 122 366
2002 8,015 205 768
2003 10,947 25 109
2004 10,156 621 719
2005 11,023 71 552
2006 12,325 809 665
2007 14,281 1 002,139
2008 19,227 1 291,965
2009 24,888 1 733,111
2010 30,373 2 072,061
2011 40,071 2 701,279
2012 40,644 3 851,278

To be notice: this isn’t breaking news: Access to Internet in Cuba ranks among the lowest in the world. Internet navigation is censored (not on the table), but limitation to access is another form of censorship. Remember the story about the submarine Internet cable that should connect Venezuela and Cuba improving bandwidth and speed? No? Don’t bother trying to remember, it hasn’t made any difference so far.

So, this table shows with numbers something that Cubans know by living their lives: internet accounts are scarce, and there are a bunch of internet users per internet account. This is because most of access in Cuba happens in the workplace -newsrooms, research facilities, government institutions, Hotels, some Universities. There are households with Internet access, but there must be always strong reasons to be entitled to one. Access hasn’t been extensively commercialized, unless for foreign corporations which are anyway shared 51% by the Cuban government. There was at some point the chance to buy an account, but prices were prohibited. Still, pirate Internet accounts are part of the landscape, but those are difficult – impossible – to track in numbers.


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