Cuba says US behind illegal wireless networks
HAVANA — Cuba accused the United States on Monday of enabling illegal
Internet connections in its territory and said several people were
arrested in April for profiting from the wireless networks.
The official communist party newspaper Granma said those arrested, who
were not identified, "had for some time and without any legal
authorization, been installing wireless networks for profit."
Using satellite connections to the Internet and equipment that was
either stolen or brought to the island illegally, they set up a service
to receive international telephone calls that bypassed the state
telephone monopoly ETECSA.
"This activity is financed by the United States, which is where the
necessary means and tools come from, evading the established controls,"
the newspaper charged.
Cuba has restricted access to the Internet, giving priority to
universities, research centers, state entities and professionals like
doctors and journalists.
Because of the US embargo, Cuba cannot connect to the underwater fiber
optic cables that pass near the island, leaving satellite connections
with high rates and narrow bandwidths as the main option available to
Cuban Internet users.
To overcome those limitations, a Cuban-Venezuelan company laid an
underwater cable between the two countries in February. It was supposed
to have been activated in July, but it has been delayed for reasons the
government has yet to explain.
Cuban authorities have previously accused the United States of illegally
introducing technology in the island to enable the creation of wireless
networks outside state control.
One such case was that of US government contractor Alan Gross, who was
arrested in December 2009 and sentenced to 15 years prison for bringing
IT equipment into the country and delivering it to various people.
"Cuba has every right to safeguard its radio-electronic sovereignty.
Those who try to evade it will bear the weight of the corresponding
administrative rules and criminal law," Granma said.