Hanoi set to replace wartime loudspeakers with smart devices

By Vo Hai   December 2, 2017 | 02:21 am PT
Hanoi set to replace wartime loudspeakers with smart devices
A man walks under two loudspeakers on the street in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy
The capital's residents find the loudspeakers obsolete in the digital age and, well, too loud.

Hanoi’s government has kickstarted a plan to switch its public communication methods from loudspeakers to modern internet devices.

The switch will be tried first in three districts Ba Dinh, Hoan Kiem and Cau Giay, where around 250 selected families will be given access to communication devices connected to the internet, the city government said in a statement issued on Friday.

Digital information screens at apartment buildings or cell phone messages will be among the alternatives.

Feedback obtained from the trial will decide if the program should be expanded or adjusted.

The loudspeakers in Hanoi date back to the 1960s and 1970s when they delivered air raid warnings during the U.S. - Vietnam War. But they have become unpopular in the digital age, when people consider them too noisy and redundant.

Hanoi government has expressed its intentions to completely phase out its loudspeakers, but a specific timeframe has not been set.

In August, the city’s chairman Nguyen Duc Chung approved a plan to restructure the broadcasting system, silencing the loudspeakers in four downtown districts Ba Dinh, Dong Da, Hai Ba Trung and Hoan Kiem, except only when the city has to deal with emergencies such as natural disasters or outbreaks of disease.

Speakers in the rest of the capital have continued to broadcast extra information about military enrollment, vaccinations and pension payments, but the city has cut off those standing near schools, hospitals, diplomatic agencies and neighborhoods inhabited by old people or foreigners.

Their broadcasts now only take place on weekdays, and last for 30-90 minutes per day.

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