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Junta re-opens Internet access only during curfew hours

(Mizzima/IFEX) - The following is a statement from Mizzima News, an interim member of IFEX:

Junta restarts Internet lines, only at night

Probably confident that it has contained the widespread protests in Burma, the military junta began relaxing curbs on information flows on 6 October 2007. The junta has reopened Internet lines in Burma, though only at night. Most Internet users in Rangoon said the lines were accessible only during curfew hours, from10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. (local time).

"Since we cannot go out during curfew hours and the Internet is inaccessible during the day time, we are not able to access the Internet. Only a few who have a connection at home can do so," an internet-savvy youth in Rangoon told Mizzima.

Most internet shops in Rangoon remain closed, as the Internet is not accessible during daytime A few shops that allow computer games continue to survive on "gamers".

"Just now I am checking the Internet connection and it is still inaccessible, because it is not yet 10:00 p.m. It comes only at night, during the curfew," an Internet shop owner told Mizzima.

In keeping with the availability of the Internet, a few private companies, which mainly rely on Internet for communication, have requested their staff to work night shifts, Mizzima was informed.

In a move to stop information flow in Burma, while its troops opened fire on peaceful protesters, killing several people, the junta, in the last week of September, cut several telephone lines, including those for mobile phones, and blocked one of Burma's only two Internet service providers (ISPs), Myanmar Teleport, which was earlier known as Bagan Cybertech.

The junta maintained the other ISP, run by Myanmar Post and Telecommunication, as it mainly provides Internet services to government servants.

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