Authorities in Myanmar cut the internet to vast swathes of the country during its coup
- Internet access cut out in Myanmar as its military staged a coup and detained political leader.
- The monitoring site NetBlocks said access fell by 50%, with some areas cut off entirely.
- People in the country also noted losing television access and phone signal.
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Authorities Myanmar cut internet access across much of the country as its military staged a coup and detained its political leaders on Monday morning.
Myanmar’s military seized power on Monday morning, and arrested key political figures, including civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint.
NetBlocks, a non-governmental organization that monitors internet freedom and governance, said that the country’s telecommunications started being disrupted at around 3 a.m.
It said that the country’s connections first fell to around 75% of its usual rate, and then fell to 50% of its usual levels by 8 a.m.
It is not clear who cut the internet access.
Netblocks said that its preliminary findings suggest that the outage was “centrally ordered” and mostly targeted at cellular connections. It added that some fixed-line services were also hit.
The military claimed that there had been election fraud during the country’s November 8 general election, which Aung San Suu Kyi’s ruling National League for Democracy won with more votes than the last election in 2015.
The military said in a statement on a military-owned TV channel that it was handing power to Min Aung Hlaing, the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. It said a state of emergency was in force and would continue for a year.
The parliament was supposed to meet for the first time today after last November’s election.
Reuters reported that phone and internet connections were disrupted in Naypyitaw, the capital city, and Yangon, the largest city on Myanmar. It also reported that state television went off air after the arrests.
Netblocks said that the internet access had been “partially restored” by midday local time, rising back to 75% of usual levels.
But it said that “many users remain offline and it remains unclear whether the restoration will be sustained.”
Netblocks said that its data shows “cuts affecting multiple network operators including state-owned Myanma Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) and international operator Telenor.”
Monash University’s IP Observatory, which monitors internet quality around the world, said connectivity fell sharply in some areas of the country on Monday morning.
People in the country who did have some internet access later shared details of the cuts.
Winnie Thaw, an MSc student at the SOAS University of London who is in Myanmar, said that she could not access any TV channels, and she was not able to make any phone calls.
Cape Diamond, a journalist in Myanmar, said he had lost mobile signal:
Myanmar has previously restricted access to the internet for its citizens in conflict zones.
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