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MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – A step toward modernization in Cuba.

The government says it will offer its people full internet access on their cell phones. Until now, Cubans have had access only to state-run email accounts on their phones. Cubans can begin contracting 3G service for the first time Thursday.

The Cuban government has been building a 3G network in cities across the island and some tourists, Cuban government officials and foreign businesspeople have had access to it for several years.

Cuba authorized home internet in 2017 and hundreds of public Wi-Fi connection points have opened in parks and plazas around the country.

The new service will cost about 10 cents per megabyte, with packages ranging from 600 megabytes for about $7 to four gigabytes for about $30.

Those prices are roughly in line with global standards but still out of reach for many Cubans who subsist on state salaries of about $30 a month.

Cuba ran a fiber-optic connection to Venezuela in 2012, allowing the island to shift from slow and costly satellite links. It then began the slow process of allowing citizens to get online.

The government opened state-run internet cafes in 2013, joined by Wi-Fi sites two years later. The number of sites has grown to more than 800.

The Cuban internet is mostly uncensored but the government blocks a small number of sites like the U.S.-funded Radio and Television Marti networks and others that advocate for systematic change on the island.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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