Internet in Vietnam: Freedom dilemma


DESPITE THESE DAYS Facebook  is still blocked by the Government (well, a good news: Twitter is just fine here!), there is a good thing about Vietnam that I discovered on my Vietnam trip right now: Free hot-spots everywhere.

I noticed that almost all hotels, cafes and restaurants –in this case, in Ho Chi Minh City– offer free Wi-Fi connections. [Tips: Try to book a hotel in Vietnam through an online reservation, you’ll find almost all hotel reservations offer free Wi-Fi!]. For instance, although I just got “low signal strength” on my hotel’s room, the connection’s speed is still amazing. Three or four times faster than my home’s Speedy connection in Jakarta.

The Government know what the Internet technology means for country’s future prosperity –that’s why they are keen to promote it. Four years ago, the Vietnamese government has announced plans to increase the country’s Internet penetration to 35% by 2010, and looks like the initiative already paid-off: Vietnam is now among the Top 20 Internet-using countries in the world, according to the U.S.-based Pingdom website monitoring service.

With more than 26 million users (including 3,5 million broadband subscribers), Vietnam is becoming one of most connected countries in the Southeast Asia region. If the Government could be a regulations-friendly authorities and finally solve “Internet freedom dilemma”, I think it’s just the matter of time to see the Communist State in Southeast Asia becomes another Asia’s miracle!

[Photo credit]


  1. Very good observation, Budi. It’s incredible how easy it is to get online through free wifi in Vietnam despite the restrictions on the Internet.

    I’ve always wondered why Singapore, despite its high saturation of broadband, is one of the most difficult place to find free wifi in Southeast Asia!

  2. Australia is also doing a major improvement on its broadband service, as the newly elected prime minister, Ms. Gillard, has put broadband issue as her main goal during her governance period.

    So, let’s hope that our country can follow Australia and Vietnam because we eventually have a lot of “skilful” human resources in IT.

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