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India saw highest number of internet shutdowns in the world in 2020

Ankita Chakravarti     March 4, 2021

India witnessed the highest number of Internet shutdowns in the year 2020. As per a report, India has topped the list of 29 countries that disrupted internet access for people in 2020. Most of the incidents took place in India, some of the Middle Eastern countries, and some parts of Africa.

A total of 155 internet shutdowns were imposed globally out of which India had 109 shutdowns. In 2019 too India had led the highest number of internet shutdowns with 121 shutdowns, followed by 12 in Venezuela, 11 in Yemen, 8 in Iraq, 6 in Algeria and 4 in Ethiopia, as per the report by Access Now.

"The government shut down the internet at least 109 times. While this figure is lower than the totals in the previous two years, India had instituted what had become a perpetual, punitive shutdown in Jammu and Kashmir beginning in August 2019. Residents in these states had previously experienced frequent periodic shutdowns, and in 2020 they were deprived of reliable, secure, open, and accessible internet on an ongoing basis," the report states.

"There were also shutdowns in India for other reasons in 2020, and these may be ripe for challenge. Notably, in West Bengal, the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education and the state government's Home Department previously introduced a curfew-style internet blackout during the Madhyamik (secondary school) examinations, cutting off internet access every day during certain hours. This internet curfew lasted for more than nine days," the report added.

The report by Access Now stated that there was a complete internet blackout 28 times. During this time, the government had completely disrupted broadband and mobile connectivity. This forced people to spend several days without any access to the internet.

In India, Jammu and Kashmir were deprived of high-speed Internet for nearly two years. But in February 2021, 4G internet services were restored in Jammu and Kashmir. Internet services in Jammu and Kashmir were disrupted before the announcement of the abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. During that time, the people in Kashmir had access to only 2G internet services.

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