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Internet in Laos


Internet in Laos

The Internet in Laos was first introduced in 1997. The introduction of mobile broadband has significantly increased the use of the Internet in Laos since 2008.


  • Status 1
  • Local operators 2
  • Censorship and surveillance 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5


  • Internet users: 707,871 users, 125th in the world; 10.7% of the population, 169th in the world (2012).[1][2]
  • Fixed broadband: 96,291 subscribers, 101st in the world; 1.5% of the population, 134th in the world (2012).[2]
  • Mobile broadband: 50,648 subscribers, 124th in the world; 0.8% of the population, 134th in the world (2012).[2][3]
  • Facebook: 150,000 subscribers (2012).[4]
  • IPv4: 54,784 addresses allocated, 0% of the world-wide total, 8.3 addresses per 1000 people (2012).[6][7]

On 4 July 2013, The Lao Ministry of Post and Telecommunication's National Internet Center announced that it had launched the Lao Computer Emergency Response Team (LaoCERT), a branch of government focused on battling cyber crime.[8]

Local operators

In 2008 two operators, Lao Telecom and Unitel, were granted 3G licenses. Another two licenses were issued to ETL and Beeline in 2011. In 2012, the main ways to access Internet in Laos are:[9]

  • 3G (up to 21 Mbps HSPA+)
  • ADSL (up to 2 Mbps)
  • WiMAX (up to 10 Mbps)

Censorship and surveillance

Laos is included in the OpenNet Initiative (ONI) Regional Overview for Asia (2009).[10] ONI found no evidence of Internet filtering in the political, social, conflict/security, and tools areas based on testing performed in 2011.[11]

The government controls domestic Internet servers and sporadically monitors Internet usage, but by the end of 2012 it apparently did not have the ability to block access to Web sites. Authorities have developed infrastructure to route all Internet traffic through a single gateway, enabling them to monitor and restrict content. However, they apparently had not utilized this increased capability as of the end of 2012. The National Internet Committee under the Prime Minister’s Office administers the Internet system. The office requires Internet service providers to submit quarterly reports and link their gateways to facilitate monitoring, but the government’s enforcement capability appears limited.[12]

The law generally protects privacy, including that of mail, telephone, and electronic correspondence, but the government reportedly continues to violate these legal protections when there is a perceived security threat. The law prohibits unlawful searches and seizures. While the law requires that police obtain search authorization from a prosecutor or a panel of judges, police do not always obtain prior approval, especially in rural areas. Security laws allow the government to monitor individuals’ movements and private communications, including via cell phones and e-mail.[12]

See also


  1. ^ "Percentage of Individuals using the Internet 2000-2012", International Telecommunications Union (Geneva), June 2013, retrieved 22 June 2013
  2. ^ a b c Calculated using penetration rate and population data from "Countries and Areas Ranked by Population: 2012", Population data, International Programs, U.S. Census Bureau, retrieved 26 June 2013
  3. ^ "Active mobile-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants 2012", Dynamic Report, ITU ITC EYE, International Telecommunication Union. Retrieved on 29 June 2013.
  4. ^ "SocialBakers". Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  5. ^ "Internet hosts", CIA World Factbook, U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, 2012, accessed 17 June 2013
  6. ^ Select Formats, Country IP Blocks. Accessed on 2 April 2012. Note: Site is said to be updated daily.
  7. ^ Population, The World Factbook, United States Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on 2 April 2012. Note: Data are mostly for 1 July 2012.
  8. ^ Maierbrugger, Arno (4 July 2013). "ASEAN’s next cyber army forms in Laos". Inside Investor. Retrieved 4 July 2013. 
  9. ^ "Internet in Laos (Blog)". Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  10. ^ "ONI Regional Overview: Asia", OpenNet Initiative, June 2009.
  11. ^ "Summarized global Internet filtering data spreadsheet", OpenNet Initiative, 20 September 2013. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
  12. ^ a b "Loas", Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, U.S. Department of State, 22 March 2013. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
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