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Cellular phone and data services down across Cuba

An outage Thursday night knocked out cellular telephone and data services across much of Cuba, state-owned telecom company Etecsa said.

“We inform our customers that there is currently an outage on mobile services. We are working to identify the malfunction for services to be resumed as soon as possible,” the company said on its Twitter account.

Cell phone services — calls, texting and internet browsing — began experiencing issues around 7:00 pm (2400 GMT Friday), several AFP journalists observed.

“One hour without internet (even if it is not rare), but without being able to make a call… and without texting. Even the emergency numbers are out of service, it’s really catastrophic,” said a Twitter user identifying herself as Rosanna and living in the province of Camaguey.

Activity on social networks was sharply reduced, the AFP journalists also noted.

Etecsa recently indicated that its infrastructure was being strained by the island’s steadily growing number of users.

Cuba is currently connected to only one underwater cable from Venezuela.

Authorities said service should improve after an underwater fiber optic cable is added to connect Cuba with the French island of Martinique, perhaps by April.

Mobile internet has been available in the Communist-run country since 2018, allowing citizens to gain access to online resources and express themselves more freely.

Nevertheless, during periods of social tension or demonstrations, Cuban authorities reduce or fully suspend internet access. AFP

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