In the Background of the Wifi…
Author: Claudia Padrón Cueto
September 24, 2015
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
For the browsing experiences of web users to remain pleasurable in the country, the information strategy of our society must achieve a greater synergy. This is the responsibility of all those who are concerned with the education on the use of Information Technologies.
This past holiday season will probably be remembered as the “wifi summer in Cuba”. Undoubtedly the period was marked by the extension –through this type of connection– of the opportunities for web surfing at 2 CUC’s an hour. And while it is true that the price is still high for most, the wifi is welcomed.
Every day people go to the squares, parks or places with wifi reach to make use of internet navigation services. Many go to make video calls (using IMO) or check their Facebook profiles; while others find –in the wake of the wifi– a way to profit.
This is how it works in the city of Pinar del Rio: At the different access points some young people wait for new arrivals at the park or connection area and immediately offer “one hour of connection for only 1 CUC”, that is, half the official price.
They act as go-between working on commission for a percentage of the total amount collected. They take their customers/users to other persons who use their PCs and cell phones with wireless connection and sell the service to these temporary users.
Connectify Hotspot is a software –one of many– that allows sharing Internet by several users. Of course, in accepting this browsing option the speed and original connectivity potential is reduced, but still it is possible to access the web and even make video calls.
In addition to these agents of shared wifi, and of those others who hoard coupons to then sell them for 75 Cuban pesos [official price 2 CUC = 50 Cuban pesos], this journalist and some close friends were able to confirm the existence of other “merchants” who charge for a simple advice, for example: how to recharge a Nauta account that only requires to enter portal@…, and from this address type the card code.
This is a simple procedure that only takes a few minutes; but lack of knowledge makes some users resort to these “advisers” who take advantage of the inexperience and charge for the service 10 Cuban pesos. Such practices also involve certain risks, because those who offer “help” could even keep the data of the customer (username and password) and then use this information to access their accounts.
There are many who connect without even knowing how to turn on the wifi on their phone or what a browser is, what a web site, a web page or a network profile are. This is simply because without practice there is no possible knowledge. And such lack of knowledge frustrates the browsing experience of some, while others fill their pockets.
It’s been three months after the opening of the areas of wireless access service –indispensable in any modern society—and they are very much appreciated; but still the telecommunications company needs to improve its management so it is not limited only to the signing of contracts. It is also necessary to expand the benefits at the Joven Club [Free Computer Service Facilities] and provide guidance on the use of new technologies to solve the most dissimilar demands and problems of Cuban society in its way to computerization.
Schools should also join in this instruction task considering that today’s students options lead to new tools and benefits, provided by the use of ITs. These options need to be managed with dexterity so that users do not become easy preys to deception and theft.