Sat. Apr 17th, 2021

Myanmar’s wireless broadband internet services were shut down on Friday by order of the military, local providers said, as protesters continued to defy the threat of lethal violence to oppose the junta’s takeover.

(Photo Courtesy: AP NEWS)

A directive from the Ministry of Transport and Communications on Thursday instructed that “all wireless broadband data services be temporarily suspended until further notice,” according to a statement posted online by local provider Ooredoo.

After weeks of overnight cutoffs of internet access, the military on Friday shut all links apart from those using fiberoptic cable, which was working at drastically reduced speeds. Access to mobile networks and all wireless — the less costly options used by most people in the developing country — was blocked.

The Norwegian telecoms company Telenor, one of the biggest carriers in Myanmar, confirmed it could no longer offer wireless services. It was offering fiberoptic service of up to 40 megabits per second in its packages as of Friday, well below high-speed access, which is a minimum of 100 Mbps.

The government has shut down all but a handful of fully military-controlled media outlets. Some of those banned or whose operations have been suspended have continued to publish via social media or whatever methods they can find.

Facebook announced it was providing a safety feature to enable users in Myanmar to beef up security settings locking their profiles to prevent access by non-friends. That includes preventing non-friends from enlarging, sharing or downloading full-size profile and cover photos and seeing any posts on a person’s timeline.

Facebook and other major social media platforms have banned members of the Myanmar military, also known as the Tatmadaw, and are blocking ads from most military-linked commercial entities.

Also Friday, a South Korean bank said it temporary closed its branch in Yangon and was considering bringing its South Korean employees back home after security forces fatally shot one of its Myanmar employees.

Noh Ji-young, a spokesperson for Shinhan Bank, said the woman was shot in the head while commuting home from work on Wednesday and was pronounced dead on Friday.

The bank did not disclose further personal details about her. South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said the woman was shot while Myanmar security forces inspected the company car she was using.

The ministry said it has issued a warning to South Korean nationals in Myanmar to act with caution when they are inspected by security forces. SOVEREIGNPH

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