India – December 12, 2019

Published (updated: ) in .

India moved to shut down Internet services in the northern states of Assam, Tripura, and Meghalaya on December 12. The shutdown was ordered in response to protests stemming from the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill. According to a Tweet and subsequent report posted by NetBlocks, the actions impacted both fixed and mobile network providers. Within the Tweet and report, NetBlocks showed connectivity levels it measured for the autonomous systems of seven local network providers.

The figures below show how connectivity to these providers was seen by CAIDA IODA measurements during the multi-day disruption. While the start of the disruption at ~1600 GMT on December 12 is generally evident across the graphs, there are noticeable differences across them as well. These differences may be due to the types of network each autonomous system is associated with, as mobile networks are significantly harder to measure into from external vantage points. Several see restoration and disruption events that align with those seen in NetBlocks’ report, while others appear to show a complete loss of connectivity for over four days.

A court order published on December 19 ordering the restoration of services highlighted the detrimental affect that the loss of Internet connectivity has had on everyday life:

  • “It has been impressed on the Court that even electricity supply has been snapped to certain houses of the lawyers because pre-paid meters have been installed, which can only be charged through the Internet.”
  • “Under the circumstances, none of the business establishments is able to transact business causing serious disruption in normal living of the citizens in the area.”
  • “To say the least, with the advancement of science and technology, mobile Internet services now plays a major role in the daily walks of life, so much so, shut-down of the mobile Internet service virtually amounts to bringing life to a grinding halt.”

Additional protests over the Citizenship Amendment Bill caused the Indian government to order the shutdown of mobile Internet connectivity in New Delhi, as well as the suspension of Internet services in Aligarh, Meerut, Malda, Murshidabad, Howrah, and parts of West Bengal during this timeframe as well.