Cuba expands phone connections

Havana, Dec 28 (IANS/EFE) The number of telephone connections in Cuba increased 18.5 percent this year to 2.4 million, official daily Juventud Rebelde said Tuesday.

The state phone company, ETESCA, installed 43,362 fixed lines and activated 300,000 new cellular connections in 2011, the newspaper said, citing the firm’s president, Mayra Arevich Marin.

Announcing in mid-2010 that Cuba had passed the milestone of 1 million mobile connections, ETESCA proclaimed a goal of substantially boosting cell phone use in the island nation of 11.2 million people.

It was in March 2008 that the government authorised ordinary Cubans to own cell phones.

Since then, ETESCA has gradually reduced activation fees by 80 percent, instituted a sliding scale of rates and given subscribers on prepaid plans the ability to have friends or family outside Cuba add minutes to their accounts.

IANS