pointerLife online in China, Cuba, India and Russia

The Guardian:

In Cuba, internet access is limited. But if you can’t get to the internet, there are ways of bringing it physically to you.

It’s known as “el paquete semanal” or “the weekly packet”, an external drive loaded with thousands of hours of media content that is delivered to customers by enterprising ‘suppliers’ like Alberto Jorge.

I remember reading about this same story a while ago, and yet it never ceases to dumbfound me — internet access in Cuba is expensive to the point that it less convenient than having a person coming around the house regularly to deliver a dump of the data via HTP (Hand Transfer Protocol).

From a CloudFlare post of a couple of years ago:

El Paquete is a weekly service where someone (typically found through word of mouth) comes to your home with a disk (usually a 1TB external USB drive) containing a weekly download of the most recent films, soap operas, documentaries, sport, music, mobile apps, magazines, and even web sites. For 2 CUC a week Cubans have access to a huge repository of media while turning a blind eye to copyright.

Cubans told me of children waiting anxiously for “El Paquete Day” when they’d get the next set of cartoons, music and shows.