Myanmar hit with internet disruptions as military seeks to take control

Internet and phone connections are reportedly to be unstable, with online connectivity dipping to 50% as the country faces an apparent military coup and enters state of emergency.

Myanmar is experiencing internet and phone service disruptions amidst reports it faces a possible military coup. Data reveals these disruptions are impacting several local and international service providers including Myanma Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) and Telenor. 

Spotty online connectivity was first identified at 3am Monday, with national connectivity dipping to 50% by 8am, according to data from NetBlocks Internet Observatory, a UK-based internet monitoring group focused on digital rights, cybersecurity, and internet governance. It maps a country's IP address space in real-time to indicate internet connectivity levels and outages. 

Disruptions to phone and internet services followed reports that National League for Democracy's leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior political leaders had been detained in an early-morning raid conducted Monday by the military. TV and radio channels also were down. 

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Numerous posts on Twitter appeared to confirm either poor or lack of online and phone connectivity, with several living overseas saying they were unable to reach their family and friends in Myanmar. 

Military-owned TV network Myawaddy News reported that the military was taking control of the country for a year, during which a state of emergency had been declared. It pointed to a section of the constitution, drafted by the military, which outlined the army's powers to assume control in during a national emergency. 

The TV report pointed to claims Suu Kyi's government had failed to act on the military's allegations of voter fraud during last November's election as well as refusal to postpone the election due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Election votes had returned her party to power and parliament had been scheduled to kick off its session Monday. 

The military last week had threatened a potential coup of its claims of voter fraud were not addressed. 

India over the weekend also suspended mobile online services in some areas around Delhi, where farmers had gathered to stage a one-day hunger strike in protest of the government's new agriculture laws. The hunger strike was held to coincide with the death anniversary of Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi.

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