50 million subscribers hit by blocked internet in NCR

50 million subscribers hit by blocked internet in NCR

Although Home Ministry has suspended internet services till 23:59 pm on January 26, there are chances of extending the suspension order if the situation remains precarious

Parts of the national capital are facing issues with accessing internet since the past few hours. Following a ruckus created by protesting farmers, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) quickly resorted to switching down the internet services in areas like Singhu, Ghazipur, Tikri, Mukarba Chowk, Nangloi and their adjoining areas within the NCT (national capital territory) of Delhi. The MHA order didn't specify the kind of internet services - mobile or home broadband - but users across a large part of the city found it difficult to access the internet.

The telecom companies also informed their subscribers in most part of the city that the internet services in their areas have been stopped till further notice. Though the MHA order is effective for 12 hours to 23:59pm on January 26, there are chances of extending the suspension order if the situation remains precarious.

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"The internet services are essential for mobilising crowds on a large scale. Today, we saw that the situation went out of control after protests turned violent. Till the government is not comfortable with the law and order situation, the internet services are not coming back," says a telecom analyst.

As per Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) data till last October, Delhi has 52.72 million mobile subscribers, which makes it the 12th largest wireless market in the country ahead of Mumbai, Kerala, Punjab and Odisha. The number of wireline broadband users is in addition to mobile users. For a country like India with 1,171.8 million wireless and wired connection subscribers, the suspension of internet services in a major market like Delhi has consequences for the rest of the country as well.

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Reliance Jio has the highest number of subsrcibers in Delhi (18.84 million). While the government has asked for the suspension of just internet services, the telecom networks of operators like Jio are fully IP-based in which everything - data or voice calls - flows through the network in form of data. If the internet services are stopped, it essentially means that all the data flowing through Jio's network would be blocked. That's the reason some users in the affected areas have been facing issues with making voice calls too.