July 1, 2008
Hortencia Zayas took an informal telephone-line survey of the crowded Old Havana tenement where she has lived for decades. "There are three lines on the first floor," the 82-year-old former seamstress said. "There are three more lines on the second level. I think three people have cell phones but I'm not quite sure." That would make the three dozen or so residents of Zayas' crumbling apartment building among the best-connected people on the island, which has 1.241 million telephone lines and 11.2 million inhabitants, according to Cuba's National Statistic Office. "To tell you the truth, I'm surprised Cuba has that many phone lines," she said. "It's almost impossible to get a new line. People are always being told there isn't enough capacity."