Authorities restrict permits for internet cafes

Feb 3, 2009 (DVB), Residents of Shan state’s Kalaw township have complained that local authorities have refused to grant permits for new internet cafes, leaving the owner of the sole internet shop with a monopoly on prices.

A Kalaw resident, speaking on condition of anonymity, told DVB the only internet cafe in town was located in the government's Defence Services Command and General Staff College compounds and was run by a man with close ties to the authorities.

"We don’t get permits for internet cafes in Kalaw because that guy who owns the only shop is friends with the head of the university," he said.

"It costs 2000 kyat [to use the internet]. Can you believe it?"

He said five town residents had applied for permits to open internet cafes since late last year and had paid all the necessary fees but the permits had still not been granted.

"They want to keep the business for themselves so they won’t give anyone permits," the resident said.

The Myanma Post and Telecommunications department was unavailable for comment.

Reporting by Ahunt Phone Myat

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