HAVANA, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- Cuba has tested Internet access with Venezuela and Jamaica via an underwater optical fiber network, initially designed for telephone signals, the official daily Granma reported Thursday.
The laying of the optical fiber network was completed in February 2011 at an estimated cost of 70 million U.S. dollars, but trials for its use in carrying Internet traffic began on Jan. 10, the daily reported, citing a statement from the state-run Cuban Telecommunications Company Etecsa.
However, greater Internet access will not automatically follow after the tests are completed, the company said, dampening the hopes of many Cubans with little or no access to the web.
"It will be necessary to first invest in the domestic telecommunications infrastructure and increase the foreign currency resources needed to pay for Internet traffic," the statement said.
While Internet service is free in Cuba, it is restricted to some government institutions and certain professions, like journalists and doctors.
The average citizen is not allowed to have Internet access, though black market access is available for 40 to 120 U.S. dollars a month or more, depending on the number of surfing hours, a fortune for many Cubans.
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