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Cuba’s Answer To the Internet Fits In Your Pocket and Moves By Bus

HughPickens.com writes: Susan Crawford reports on “El Paquete” (the package), Cuba’s answer to the internet, an informal but extraordinarily lucrative distribution chain where anyone in Cuba who can pay can watch telenovelas, first-run Hollywood movies, and even search for a romantic partner. The so-called “weekly package,” which is normally distributed from house to house contains the latest foreign films a week, shows, TV series, documentaries, games, information, music, and more. The thumb drives make their way across the island from hand to hand, by bus, and by 1957 Chevy, their contents copied and the drive handed on. “El Paquete plays to Cuban strengths and needs,” writes Crawford because Cubans are great at sharing. “And being paid to be part of the thumb-drive supply chain is a respectable job in an economy that is desperately short on employment opportunities.” Sunday the “weekly package” of 1 terabyte is priced at $ 10, then $2 on Monday or Tuesday and $1 for the rest of the week. The sneakernet is still in use today in other parts of the world including Bhutan where a sneakernet distributes offline educational resources, including Kiwix and Khan Academy on a Stick to hundreds of schools and other educational institutions. Google once used a sneaknet to transport 120 TB of data from the Hubble Space Telescope. “Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of magnetic tapes hurtling down the highway”.


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