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Web slowdown hurting Myanmar businesses

world Updated: Apr 03, 2009 14:26 IST

Disruptions to Myanmar's Internet service will continue indefinitely, a state-owned service provider warned on Friday, saying it does not know when it will complete repairs to an undersea cable.

The slowdown has hit local businesses hard, causing some Internet cafes to close their doors and prompting travelers to cancel trips to the impoverished nation.

State owned Myanmar Teleport blamed the problems on maintenance it has been doing since March 21 on a cable in the Bay of Bengal. Teleport initially said work would be finished on March 25 but now says it does not know when the repairs will be completed. "Currently we do not know the schedule for repair completion," Teleport said in a statement.

The junta in Myanmar aggressively censors the Internet and routinely blocks politically sensitive Web sites such as those promoting human rights. During a crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in September 2007, it cut all access to the Internet and shuttered many cybercafes.

But this time around, there is no indication that government meddling is behind the slowdown. While hard to confirm, business owners said they believed the problem was technical.