Wireless broadband internet networks of Myanmar were closed down on Friday by military order, according to local providers, as demonstrators tried to resist the junta’s takeover despite threats of lethal abuse.
According to a statement posted online by local provider Ooredoo, a directive from the Ministry of Transport and Communications on Thursday ordered that “all wireless broadband data services be temporarily suspended until further notice.”
After weeks of overnight internet outages, the military shut down all connections on Friday, with the exception of those using fiberoptic cable, which was operating at significantly reduced speeds. Cell networks and all wireless — the less expensive alternatives used by the majority of citizens in the developing world — were shut down.
Telenor, one of largest telecoms companies of Myanmar, announced that it will no longer be able to provide wireless services. As of Friday, it was providing fiberoptic service at speeds of up to 40 megabits per second in its packages, a far cry from high-speed connectivity, which requires a minimum of 100 megabits per second.
All but a few completely military-controlled media outlets have been shut down by the government. Any of those who have been banned or whose activities have been halted have continued to post through social media or other means.
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Facebook reported that users in Myanmar would be able to beef up security settings on their profiles to prevent non-friends from accessing them. Non-friends would be unable to resize, share, or import full-size profile and cover images, as well as see any updates on a person’s timeline.
Also on Friday, a South Korean bank said it had temporarily shut down its Yangon branch and was considering sending its South Korean employees home after one of its Myanmar employees was shot dead by security forces.
The woman was shot in the head while commuting home from work on Wednesday, according to Noh Ji-young, a spokesperson for Shinhan Bank. She was pronounced dead on Friday.
Meanwhile, Giesecke+Devrient (G+D), a German company that supplies raw materials, supplies, and device components for the production of kyat banknotes of Myanmar, has announced that all deliveries to the state-owned security printer Security Print Works have been halted.
“This is a reaction to the ongoing violent clashes between the military and the civilian population,” the company said in a statement. It said it had previously restricted business.
“The military junta’s widespread use of arbitrary arrests and enforced disappearances appears designed to strike fear in the hearts of anti-coup protesters. Concerned governments should demand the release of everyone disappeared and impose targeted economic sanctions against junta leaders to finally hold this abusive military to account.” Said Brad Adams, Human Rights Watch’s Asia director.