HAVANA, Cuba, Jun 27 (ACN) While public use of the network of networks in Cuba began to spread late, in just five years the country's international bandwidth to improve access and quality of services was multiplied by more than 20 times.
Ernesto Rodriguez Hernandez, Vice Minister of Communications, informed during the second day of the I Internet Governance Forum, that in 2013 they began the exploitation of the submarine cable system ALBA -1 and in 2018 already provided access services in all its forms.
He pointed out that the education sector closed last year with 24 percent of the schools connected to internet, a figure that today represents about a third of the total and is expected to close December at 37 or 38 percent.
As for public service, he said that of 118 collective rooms that existed in 2014 today they exceed 670, while all municipalities already have Wi-Fi zones.
He said that currently more than 80,000 households have Internet access, while users connected by mobile data exceed 2.4 million.
However, he said, it is far from reaching what is desired in this sense and among the main challenges is to continue expanding the infrastructure with modern technology to improve the quality of service and as far as possible lower tariffs.
He commented on the dissatisfaction with the production of content and the possibility of offering relevant services to citizens, a problem that in his opinion is not exclusive to Cuba, but to Third World countries and that must be faced with responsibility and commitment, since it is closely related to culture and identity.
It is also fair to recognize the presence of many national platforms such as Todus, Ecured, Apkalis, La Papeleta and CubaEduca, among others, he said.
Regarding electronic commerce and the digital economy, he pointed out that although there is a variety of payment channels and culture is beginning to be gained in this area, progress is not being made in the desired way.
Last year, payments through point-of-sale terminals and mobile banking achieved superior results; however, they were below the potentialities, capacities and the need to advance in this area, he said.
Today the country has more than five million magnetic cards and similar number of mobile terminals, however the number of customers of mobile banking is only 200,000, said the vice minister.
He also said that the levels of electronic transactions are growing, but 93 percent of the operations associated with magnetic cards are for cash withdrawal.
With a view to the future, he pointed out the need to eliminate unnecessary obstacles in order to make it more efficient than traditional commerce, in addition to being carried out not only between entities and citizens, but business-to-business, which would be of great benefit.
As for e-government, he said that all Central State Administration Agencies have a web portal, as well as territorial governments, and stressed that in this sense it is necessary to further automate internal management processes in all government structures and computerize public records, especially those associated with natural persons.
The recognition of digital documents and protection of personal data in this format are also challenges imposed by the advance of electronic government, he said.
Rodriguez Hernandez said that social networks are not new, only have another scenario that are the information and communication technologies, where an important part of the debate is generated, so it is vital responsible participation and ethical conduct in such spaces.
According to the vice-minister, the Governance Forum, which will take place until tomorrow at the Havana Convention Center, has constituted a space for feedback, to dialogue, learn about the main concerns and generate a useful exchange.