In 2017, the number of Internet shutdowns in India more than doubled from 2016. Source: Shutterstock

In 5 years, India lost $3 billion to Internet shutdowns

OVER the span of five years, India’s economy has lost over US$3 billion to Internet shutdowns that totaled over 16,315 hours, according to a study by a leading think tank.

The study by the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) also found that 12,615 hours of mobile Internet shutdowns in the country cost the economy approximately US$2.37 billion during the period 2012 to 2017.

Another 3,700 hours of mobile and fixed-line Internet shutdowns in India, according to the study, cost the economy approximately US$678.4 million during the same period.

The Shutdown Tracker Optimisation Project (STOP) run by the civil society organization Access Now reported in September 2017, that India with 54 shutdowns had topped the list of 30 countries that witnessed shutdowns in the preceding 21 months, the study said.

India with 54 shutdowns had topped the list of 30 countries that witnessed shutdowns in the preceding 21 months. Source: Shutterstock

In 2017, the number of Internet shutdowns in India more than doubled from 2016, while the total hours of shutdown increased by only 20 percent.

“Internet shutdowns are a growing concern in India,” the study read.

“At a time when India is leveraging the impacts of a generative technology like the Internet to give boost and expression to Digital India, the rising number of shutdowns epitomizes the difficulties on the pathway to realizing India’s digital ambitions.”

ICRIER put Internet shutdowns in the same class as network disruptions, saying it represented a tool of Internet censorship. The study focussed on broadly two types of Internet shutdowns – complete and partial.

While partial shutdowns, such as throttling or blocking are a growing concern with manifold implications, ICRIER emphasized that the study focused only on the economic impact of a complete Internet shutdown.





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