Mobile Internet Connectivity Restored to Western Myanmar

By Min Aung Khine 3 February 2021

Sittwe, Rakhine State — Mobile internet services have resumed in areas of Rakhine and Chin states, a day after Myanmar’s military (the Tatmadaw) seized power in a coup.

In June 2019, the authorities imposed an internet blackout in eight townships in Rakhine State — Ponnagyun, Rathedaung, Mrauk-U, Kyauktaw, Minbya, Myebon, Maungdaw and Buthidaung — and Chin State’s Paletwa Township, citing security concerns over fighting with the Arakan Army.

Internet services resumed in some townships in September 2019 but the government reimposed a blackout in February last year before resuming 4G services in Maungdaw in May.

In early August, the government restored mobile internet to Buthidaung, Ponnagyun, Kyauktaw, Rathedaung, Mrauk-U, Minbya, Myebon townships in Rakhine State and Paletwa but limited connectivity to slow 2G service.

“Internet connection restored last night. I have no comment on it. We don’t need to give thanks for it. We are entitled,” said Buthidaung resident U Aung Thaung Shwe.

Kyauktaw Township resident Ko Kyaw Hla Myint also confirmed that internet services resumed on Tuesday night.

Paletwa resident Bu Htan Paing said internet access resumed in his town but the signal was weak.

Proposals were submitted to the Rakhine State parliament in June 2019 and January 2020 to resume connectivity in northern Rakhine and Paletwa. The parliament approved the proposal on both occasions and civil society organizations and activists frequently called for the resumption of unrestricted internet services, but the blackout remained.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko

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