Internet users reach over 63,000 in Myanmar in 2005

Xinhwa, The People's Daily Online, 18 April 2006

The number of internet users in Myanmar reached 63,700 as of the end of 2005, up from merely a few thousands in 2000, registering the highest rate of increase in five years in Southeast Asia region, a local press reported in its latest issue.

Despite the sharp increase, the number of internet users in the country still stands the least compared with other SEA countries with one internet user per 1,000 population, the Myanmar Info-Tech (previously Myanmar Information and Communications Technology Park) was quoted as saying by the Weekly Eleven News.

Meanwhile, Myanmar has projected to add internet service centers to over 100 townships in the country during this year to facilitate communications especially in the sectors of business and education.

As of early this year, such centers, also known as the Public Access Centers (PAC), had been opened in 12 townships including those in Yangon, Mandalay, Mawlamyine, Monywa, Taunggyi, Toungoo, Pyay, Pyinmana, Magway, Myeik, Kawthoung and Shwebo, the Myanmar Info-Tech said.

The country is striving to have such service centers cover the whole country's 326 townships in the near future.

Meanwhile, the Ahaed Co. of Myanmar and the Teleglobe of Canada have reached a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to run an internet service provider (ISP) in Myanmar as part of the country's bid to expand such services. Besides, a Hong Kong (HK) company, the SS8 Networks Inc., has also agreed with an ICT company of Myanmar to run security services for ISPs in Myanmar.

Myanmar has also launched some e-government systems including e- visa, e-passport, and e-procurement to effect management of government bodies.

Myanmar introduced e-education system in early 2001. Being a signatory to the e-ASEAN Framework Agreement initiated at the regional summit in Singapore in 2000, Myanmar has also formed the e-National task Force to support the IT development.

The country signed a series of MoUs with companies from Malaysia, Thailand and an ASEAN organization on ICT development.