Like all other nations in South East Asia, people in Myanmar are also enjoying the internet access to the world. Internet has become part of the daily life of some of the Burmese living in the large cities. However, the speed of the internet in Myanmar is usually quite slow, individual access is also quite expensive and mostly available to major cities. Apart from Yangon and Mandalay, most other cities in Myanmar have to rely on ipStar satellite link for internet access. Broadband is only available to Yangon and Mandalay, and dial up, although available in other cities and towns using the telephone line, is painfully slow and disconnection is too frequent. For individual users, monthly payment plans are quite expensive. Broadband access is granted only to companies and businesses and the installation fee (about US$ 2,000) is very expensive. For most Myanmar people, this is beyond their means. To fill this gap, internet cafes sprung up all over Myanmar.
Majority of internet cafes are in Yangon and Mandalay where ADSL broadband service is readily available. In Yangon alone, there are more than 100 internet cafes with new ones opening every week. In Mandalay, although the number of internet cafes is not as high as in Yangon, people are also enjoying the same kind of privilege. In other cities across Myanmar, people are not so lucky. Most of the time, it is quite difficult to find one internet café even in large cities outside Yangon and Mandalay (except the new capital Naypyidaw). Some large cities, even though they are economically well off, don’t have even a single internet café. Most cities have only one or two internet café. The connection is also slower than in Yangon and Mandalay, as they mainly rely on satellite access. The fee is also two to three times higher.
Most internet café in Yangon and Mandalay charge the customers about 400 to 600 kyats ( 0.30 to 0.45 US$) per hour. If the electricity is cut off, which is quite usual, the shop will run the electric generator, and an extra charge of 100 kyats (about US$ 0.08) per hour is usually added to the normal fee. In other cities, the charge might be as high as 1,000 to 1,500 kyats (US$ 0.08 to 1.30) per hour. (In Hakha, Chin State, I had to pay 2,000 kyats per hour to use the internet!)
As many popular websites and domains (like blogger) as well as all popular web mails are banned by the Myanmar internet service provider, almost all internet café provide some way to by pass this firewall. This is either in the form of proxy software or a proxy website. Gmail users and use https protocol to access their emails while Yahoo users can use the mobile version of Yahoo mail. For other web mails, you have to use the proxy.
There are now rumors that some internet café in Myanmar install key loggers and screen capture. Although not confirmed, you should bear this fact in mind while using the internet at the internet café in Myanmar.