Internet shutdowns cost $ 5.45 billion worldwide in 2021, with India taking third place: report

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Internet downtimes around the world soared 36 percent to over 30,000 hours in 2021 and cost the global economy a whopping $ 5.45 billion (roughly Rs 40,300 billion), according to a report. India was among the three countries where the cost of internet shutdowns was highest in the past year. The report said the country saw a total of 1,157 hours of internet shutdowns in 2021 – at a total cost of $ 582.8 million (about Rs 4,300 billion).

The report by the Virtual Private Networks (VPN) website Top10VPN found that a population of 486.2 million people worldwide had been hit by internet shutdowns in 2021. This shows an 80 percent increase in the impact of Internet shutdowns compared to the previous year. There have been up to 50 major internet outages in 21 countries, and 75 percent of government failures worldwide were related to other human rights violations.

Myanmar was the leading country, with internet shutdowns costing $ 2.8 billion (approximately Rs 20,700 billion), lasting 12,238 hours and affecting 22 million users in 2021. Nigeria ranked second on the list, where outages affected 104.4 million people and caused $ 1.5 billion (approximately Rs. 11,100 crore).

Third place behind Myanmar and Nigeria was India with 1,157 hours of internet shutdowns, all of which occurred last year, including 317.5 hours of complete internet blackout and 840 hours of bandwidth throttling with only 2G services provided.

The Internet shutdowns in India in 2021 affected 59.1 million people in the country.

Top10VPN said the biggest economic success in India came from throttling internet speeds in Kashmir, where connectivity was finally restored in February last year – after 18 months of only 2G access.

“The deliberate slowdown in 2G speeds made the internet virtually useless in Kashmir, causing education and the economy to suffer during a pandemic that made everyone more dependent on reliable internet access,” the report said.

The government also imposed a localized internet blackout in Delhi in an early response to large-scale farmers’ protests, which resulted in high costs, according to the report.

Internet shutdowns in countries like India, Myanmar and Bangladesh made Asia the largest continent with the highest total economic cost of outages in 2021 at $ 3.42 billion. The loss of connection in the region also affected 292. from millions of people for a total of 13,458 hours, the report said.

Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and North Africa were the other two regions where internet shutdown costs were highest compared to others.

Country-specific internet shutdowns in 2021 according to Top10VPN

rank country total cost Duration (hours) Affected internet users
1 Myanmar $ 2.8 billion 12,238 22 million
2 Nigeria $ 1.5 billion 5,040 104.4 million
3 India $ 582.8 million 1,157 59.1 million
4th Ethiopia $ 164.5 million 8,864 21.3 million
5 Sudan $ 157.4 million 777 13.2 million
6th Uganda $ 109.7 million 692 10.6 million
7th Bangladesh $ 49.7 million 60 112.7 million
8th Burkina Faso $ 35.9 million 192 10.9 million
9 Cuba $ 33.1 million 176 7 million
10 Syria $ 28.7 million 104 5.9 million

The military coup was the main reason that led local authorities to cut internet access for nearly 10,000 hours, costing the world economy $ 2.79 billion (about 20,600 billion rupees) in 2021. Information control and political repression followed the report.

TopVPN10 said Twitter was the most blocked social media platform in 2021, recording 10 closings for a total of 12,379 hours. The other offerings from Facebook and Meta, namely WhatsApp and Instagram, were among the other two platforms that were hardest hit during the year, the website emphasized.

To calculate the economic impact of internet shutdowns around the world, TopVPN10 used the COST tool developed by the internet surveillance NGO Netblocks and stakeholders The Internet Society and Collaboration on International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) . It has also sourced Internet outages reported by Netblocks Real-Time Data, Internet Outage Detection and Analysis (IODA), and the Internet Shutdown Tracker from SFLC.in.

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