Havana’s Hottest Spot is a Crowded Ramp to WiFi Bliss

Havana’s Hottest Spot is a Crowded Ramp to WiFi Bliss

In this March 11, 2015 file photo, Adonis Ortiz chats with his father, who lives in the U.S., using a free Wi-Fi network at a center run by famed artist Kcho, in Havana, Cuba.  Cuba says it's expanding Internet access by adding Wi-Fi capacity to dozens of state-run Internet centers and more than halving the cost that users pay for an hour online. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan, File)
In this March 11, 2015 file photo, Adonis Ortiz chats with his father, who lives in the U.S., using a free Wi-Fi network at a center run by famed artist Kcho, in Havana, Cuba. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan, File)

Nick Miroff, THE WASHINGTON POST

 

 

HAVANA (The Washington Post) — The busy stretch of 23rd Street in Havana that slopes upward from the seawall is known as La Rampa (The Ramp). It’s a fitting name for the place where many Cubans are discovering the Internet for the first time.

Walk along La Rampa on a typical evening and the sidewalks are jammed with young Cubans, their faces lit up by the blue glow of laptops, tablets and phones. They’re on Facebook or chatting with loved ones and friends in Miami and beyond, shouting over the din of bus engines and old Russian Ladas groaning up the hill.

La Rampa is one of five places in Havana — and 35 in Cuba overall — where the least-connected country in the Americas suddenly has public WiFi. They’re like water-slide parks set down in the middle of a desert.

“Sensational,” said Bryan Matos, 20. “A dream come true.”

Expanding Internet access was one of the things the communist government agreed to as part of the negotiations to reestablish relations with the United States. But Cuba, of course, is doing it in its own particular way.

 

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