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Internet shutdowns cost India $582.8 million in 2021: Report

Repeated internet shutdowns exacted a heavy price from India in 2021, with roughly 60 million users affected.

There has been a total of 317.5 hours of internet shutdowns in India in 2021 which cost the country a total of $582.8 million (or 58.28 crores), according to research by Top10VPN.com.

Overall, India is among the top three countries where the cost of internet shutdowns is the highest. This research sourced incidences of internet outages from Netblocks’ real-time graphic data and SFLC.in’s Internet Shutdown Tracker. Top10VPN said that the economic cost of internet shutdown is calculated using the Netblocks and the Internet Society’s Cost of Shutdown Tool, which is based on the Brookings Institution method.

Internet suspension has unofficially become standard operating procedure during public unrest or violence in India. Increasingly, state and central government bodies are relying on internet suspensions, creating communication blackouts in conflict-ridden areas.

 Biggest economic hit from outages in Kashmir

The Indian government again imposed more costly internet outages than almost any other nation. The biggest economic hit came from throttling internet speeds in Kashmir, where authorities finally restored normal internet access in February after 18 months — Top10VPN

The website said that the internet was intentionally slowed down to 2G speeds which rendered the internet ‘functionally near-useless’. This caused “education and business to suffer during a pandemic that made everyone more dependent on reliable internet access”.

Source: Top10VPN

Some recent internet shutdowns in India

  • In December, mobile internet and bulk SMS services were restored in the Mon district of Nagaland after over 12 hours of shutdown, amidst violence in the area
  • Maharashtra government imposed restrictions on mobile internet and SMS services in the Amravati district, after unrest in the area.
  • Rajasthan government shut down the internet in various districts to curb cheating during the administrative services examination being held in the state in October.
  • Kashmir saw restrictions on mobile internet services amidst civilian killings in October.
  • Haryana government restricted mobile internet services in at least three districts of Haryana in view of the Kisan Mahapanchayat in Karnal in September.

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Among other subjects, I cover the increasing usage of emerging technologies, especially for surveillance in India

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