HAVANA – Cuba legalized on Monday private data networks as long as the content does not breach “moral or social customs.”
“It’s about ordering private data networks and high-speed wireless systems at the frequencies of 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz,” policy director at the Ministry of Communications (MINCOM), Wilfredo Lopez, said to local press.
Licenses for external private data will be granted for users, who can use them in the frequency bands from 2400 MHz to 2483.5 MHz, and from 5725 MHz to 5850 Mhz.
For private homes there is a power transmission limit of 100 miliWatt (mW), equivalent to 200-300 meters.
It is possible to connect a building or block “as long as it doesn’t interfere with the streets.”
Before having wifi access, Cubans had to ask for a license from state-owned telecoms operator ETECSA.
The new regulation allows the creation of private networks to download files, apps, games and antivirus updates as long as “they don’t affect the country’s integrity and security or promote news against social interest, public morals and social customs,” according to state-owned digital journal Cubadebate.
From now on, Cubans are allowed to import wifi equipment, although this must be included on a list of approved devices.
It is also necessary to have a license from the Ministry of Communications.
Government company Etecsa will continue to be the only legal broadband provider in the country, where the market is not expected to be open to foreign investment in the short term.
The decision of regulating data networks came after Cubans sought ways to be connected with the world.
Until recently, Cuba was one of the most disconnected countries in the world.
In the last two years, the government has allowed private wifi access and the use of 3G and 4G in mobile phones.
The first public wifi zones opened in 2015.
Since Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, an electronics engineer, came to power a year ago, Cuba has experienced a boost in the use of new technology.
In 2015, barely 30% of the Cuban population had access to the internet.
Now, 6.4 million of the 11.2 million inhabitants of the island are regular internet users and 40% have internet access through a mobile phone, according to data from MINCOM.