Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Couped up at home...but you can't keep a blogger down

Last night as events unfolded here in Bangkok the military coup targeted mobile phone, international gateway and TV operations in effort to keep some control.

I was talking to a friend in the UK when the phone went dead. I thought nothing of it then around one hour later I got the sniff of tanks rolling down the streets of the city.

Thai TV was on a loop of pictures of HM the King and the occasional message from the coup leaders.

The military took control of at least one TV station that was repeatedly playing a message from the fallen leader and the telecoms gazilliionare's building (HQ of his mobile phone giant and TV station) were put under guard. I thought that the mobile networks had been locked down but then realised it was just another repeat performance of the years of under-investment in interconnection routes between the now overly busy operators.

Next to go was the satellite feed, also owned by the now ex-Prime Minister. This lost me access to CNN and BBC World, however my ADSL connection came to the fore as I spun up TVU and got the low down from the low quality (but perfectly acceptable) IPTV feed.

Also thanks to RSS and online news service such as Reuters and the like I was able to keep up to date as events played out.

What comes out of this are the problems that occur when business and politics meet. Yesterdays caretaker Prime Minister and today's ex-Prime Minister built their fortune (and platform into politics) on the back of their telecoms business. The corruption claims on this very business that led ultimately to the coup were then directly targeted in an effort to take his voice away.

The lesson for all of us always, always spread your communication assets around so when the flusher gets pulled the whole country doesn't go down the toilet with you.

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