Cuba announces it will launch broadband home internet

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A Ford Fairline 57 vintage car passes near the Capitol (L) in Havana

HAVANA (AP) _ Cuba says it is launching its first broadband home Internet service, a potentially major step forward in bringing the island online.

State telecommunications company ETECSA announced Sunday night that it would allow Cubans to order home service through fiber optic connections operated with Chinese telecom operator Huawei.

There are important caveats: ETECSA described the new service as a pilot project and said prices would be announced in the future. Most Cuban workers earn a state salary of about $25 a month. Foreign firms in Cuba pay hundreds of dollars a month for home connections for their executives.

Still, fiber-optic home connections would be an important milestone in Cuba, where general public access to broadband Internet began only last year, with the opening of dozens of public WiFi spots.