Internet shutdowns spike in Q1 2024

India experienced the most shutdowns, followed by Ethiopia and Senegal. Over half of the events have been regionally focused, affecting specific parts of countries.

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In the first quarter of 2024, Pulse has documented 22 deliberate internet shutdowns across 12 countries, with some ongoing since 2023. This figure matches the peak seen in 2021 during Myanmar‘s military coup, highlighting a concerning trend. India has been the most affected, with nine shutdowns, followed by Ethiopia and Senegal, each experiencing two incidents. Over half of these shutdowns have been localised, impacting specific regions within countries including Chad, Comoros, Cuba, Iran, Pakistan, Palestinian Territory and Russia.

Among the recorded events, nine led to nationwide disruptions lasting from hours to months, affecting approximately 297 million internet users and resulting in over 910 days of downtime. These shutdowns have inflicted significant economic losses, amounting to USD 565.4 million in GDP, as reported by Pulse. Such disruptions hinder societal progress, hamper economies, and undermine the stability of the global internet infrastructure.

Why does it matter?

Championing an open and easily accessible internet, advocates stress the significance of prioritising policies that ensure uninterrupted connectivity. Governments and policymakers globally are encouraged to endorse efforts to protect the internet, acknowledging its pivotal role in nurturing economic development and providing opportunities for individuals to exercise fundamental human rights in the digital era.