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Kingdom’s internet demands up amid Covid-19 restrictions

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Men use their smartphones at Wat Phnom in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district on Wednesday. Hean Rangsey

Kingdom’s internet demands up amid Covid-19 restrictions

The number of internet users in Cambodia has increased significantly amid the Covid-19 pandemic due to increased demand for, among others, online purchase and education, according to a senior official at the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications.

The ministry’s director-general Tol Gnak told The Post on March 16 that people’s mobility has been restricted during the crisis, which has led to an increase in internet use. He said the number of people in both public and private sectors conducting meetings online has also increased.

He added that people’s movements have been restricted as part of measures to stop the spread of the virus. This has resulted in more goods and services being ordered online.

“All of these features have changed so much that the digital technology’s role in the Covid-19 context is growing along with the number of apps. It can be said that this challenge has also created opportunities,” Gnak said.

According to Gnak, along with the opportunities, the challenges for online services, technology and security has also increased. To beef up online security, the ministry has been preparing a cyber-security law.

Telecommunications minister Chea Vandeth confirmed on March 16 that the number of internet users during the crisis has increased to 15.5 million, including mobile internet users.

The number of homes, buildings and companies connected with underground and wireless networks is close to one million places.

“At the same time, there are some challenges that make users complain about the slow internet service, which affects the daily work process, as well as online study,” Vandeth said.

Vi Kayaseth, a human resource manager at online food delivery firm NHAM24, said on March 17 that during the outbreak, his company’s online orders have increased by only five to 10 per cent.

“The online ordering system that my company has set up is to make it convenient for customers, especially during the Covid-19 crisis. People cannot go out, so they can’t buy food,” he said.

However, Kayaseth said using apps and other online platforms to order goods is not yet widespread in Cambodia. He hoped that demands will increase in the future as companies continue to promote their online services.

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