One of the biggest challenges for expats is determining the best way to stay in touch with family and friends back home. But as big as that challenge is, it’s far smaller than it was just a few years ago.
Cuenca expat Jack Frawley remembers when he budgeted $50 a month to make long-distance calls from Cuenca to his parents in California. “And that didn’t pay for too many minutes,” he says. “In 1990 there wasn’t any Facebook or Skype or Internet. The only way to talk to the family was to make international calls and those were expensive and half the time you couldn’t get a connection. Now it’s easy and cheap.”
Today, even though they are 1,984 miles from Miami, 3,144 from Chicago, and 3,568 from Las Vegas, Cuenca expats have a number of easy and cheap options for connecting with the home country.
According to a recent CuencaHighLife survey the most popular option is Skype, used by 29.6% of respondents, with email a close second at 28.8%, Magic Jack third at 22%, followed by Facebook at 10.2%, and Whatsapp at 2.5%.
The HighLife numbers mirror the results similar surveys conducted by InterNations and the British newspaper, The Telegraph. Skype ranked first in both surveys although email ranked above Magic Jack in the Telegraph results. Facebook was a solid fourth in both surveys.
Cuenca will increase public wifi zones to 100 by 2017
It’s getting even easier to stay connected with home or anywhere else as the city of Cuenca continues to add more public wifi zones, mostly in public parks and plazas.
As part of its membership in the Digital City program, Cuenca says it will have 100 wifi zones by the end of 2016, up from the current 20, which include Parques Calderon, San Sebastian, San Blas, Maria Auxiliadora, Santo Domingo, Otorongo Square, Mirador Turi, the Calle Hermano Miguel escalinata, Molleturo Square, and Chaucha.