Cubans missing out on information revolution: poll

Thu Sep 30, 2010 1:03pm EDT
 
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By Marc Frank

HAVANA (Reuters) - Cubans remain extraordinarily isolated from information technology, with only 2.9 percent reporting regular use of the Internet and 5.8 percent regular use of e-mail, according to a government survey released on Thursday.

Just 2.6 percent said they regularly used cell phones, according to the poll conducted by the National Statistics Office and posted on its web page (ONE.CU).

The statistics office (www.one.cu/tic.htm), which queried 38,000 homes, found almost all users accessed the Internet at work or school, as few have it at home.

Internet access in the Communist-run country is highly restricted and users must obtain government authorization.

Cuba's failure to embrace modern telecommunications is a major complaint among citizens under 50 years old, who cite it as one of the reasons they seek to migrate abroad.

Revolutionary Cuba largely blames its technological isolation on the United States trade embargo against the island.

The government's 2009 statistical abstract reported that there were 1.6 million Internet users, or 14.2 per 100 residents, but in most cases they used a government-controlled intranet with limited access to the world wide web.

Cuba's Internet use trails much of the world and all of its neighbors.   Continued...

 
<p>A man works on a computer at an exhibition booth at the International Conference on Communication and Technologies in Havana February 16, 2007. REUTERS/Claudia Daut</p>