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News Summary: Google urges Myanmar on free speech

The Associated Press

GOOGLE MYANMAR: Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt on Friday urged Myanmar's government to allow private businesses to develop the country's woeful telecommunications infrastructure, emphasizing the importance of competition and free speech.

PAST TO PRESENT: Schmidt said that the Internet can help cement political and economic opening in Myanmar, which has undergone rapid changes since reformist president Thein Sein took office in 2010 after decades of direct military rule.

MILES TO GO: Myanmar has just three internet service providers, two of which are wholly or partially owned by the government. All connections, landline and wireless, run through a single fiber optic cable, connections to which haven't been updated since 2008, according to the Open Technology Fund report. Speeds are so slow that sometimes it is impossible to use Gmail.