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Cuba expands citizens' access to the Internet

Unfortunately, for many Cubans, the new public Internet centers will be too expensive to use.

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Cars drive through the streets on March 26, 2012 in Havana, Cuba. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Cuba will expand access to the Internet for its citizens next month by opening 118 public Internet centers across the island, the government announced Tuesday in its Official Gazette.

"New areas for (Internet) navigation will gradually be incorporated," official newspaper Juventud Rebelde reported, according to the Associated Press.

Currently, only tourists staying in hotels, workers at foreign companies and employees at some Cuban businesses and government agencies have Internet access. Service at home is extremely rare.

Starting June 4, Cubans can obtain a temporary or permanent Internet account with state telecom Etecsa and use the public centers.

Internet searches will be monitored, with Cubans forbidden to use the Web to "endanger or prejudice public security, or the integrity and sovereignty of the nation,” the announcement said, according to Reuters.

According to Reuters:

While Cubans will have greater, unrestricted access to the Internet, it will still be too expensive for most of them, the equivalent of $4.50 an hour in a country where the average monthly salary amounts to $20.

"It's a real bargain," a commenter on state news website Cuba Si who gave the name Osvaldo Ulloa said sarcastically. "I mean, I work for a week and then I can get online for hour — fabulous."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/cuba/130528/cuba-expands-access-the-internet