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Young Cubans have come up with a partial solution for the lack of home internet connections - they have quietly linked thousands of computers into a hidden network that stretches miles across Havana, allowing them to play games, download movies and chat with friends.

A group have pooled and created a private network of more than 9,000 computers with small, inexpensive but powerful hidden Wi-Fi antennas and Ethernet cables strung over streets and rooftops spanning the entire city. It has around 2,000 users a day.

Cuban officials say Internet access is limited largely because of the U.S. embargo. But Cuba said while it is opening to buying U.S. telecommunications equipment, it's not changing its broader system in exchange for normal U.S. relations.

Outside observers and many Cubans blame the lack of Internet on the government's desire to control the population as well as high cellphone and Internet charges as a source of cash for the government.

"It's proof that it can be done," said 30-year-old systems engineer Alien Garcia. "If I as a private citizen can put up a network with far less income than a government, a country should be able to do it, too, no?"


--The Associated Press