India now reportedly leads the world in internet shutdowns, and has been called the internet shutdown capital of the world.

Indian mobile operators losing Rs 24 cr per hour due to internet shutdowns
news Internet shutdown Saturday, December 28, 2019 - 19:45

Indian telecom operators are losing nearly Rs 2.45 crore for every hour that an internet shutdown is imposed in India, according to the Cellular Operators Association of India. 

An internet shutdown has been one of the government’s snap measures at any point where there are protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act. As of Saturday, internet has been cut off from Kashmir for a period of 146 days — imposed on August 4 prior to the abrogation of Article 370. 

"According to our computation at the end of 2019, with the increase in online activities we believe the cost (of internet shutdowns) is close to Rs 2.45 crore for an hour of internet shutdown,” COAI director Rajan Mathews told Reuters. 

India now reportedly leads the world in internet shutdowns, and has been called the internet shutdown capital of the world. According to Internet Shutdowns, a tracker by SFLC, India has had 105 internet shutdowns this year, and could even go up in the three days before the year comes to an end. 

Speaking to Indian Express, Mathews said that they do not know what inputs the decision of disenfranchising people are based on, or if there is a review process. “In fact, we are not aware of any review of the perceived dangers of connectivity and we cannot do any second guessing. The Government has to think of the cost and benefits of internet shutdowns instead of using the same shutdown policy for all parts of the country,” he said. 

He further told the newspaper that there must be minimal use of something such as an internet shutdown as a method to resort to. “. Surgical tools have to be used for specific targets instead of blunt instruments to disenfranchise people of an entire geographical region,” he said. 

On the other hand, this revenue loss comes at a time that the telecom sector is already struggling, following the Supreme Court’s verdict on Adjusted Gross Revenue, which saw Airtel and Vodafone Idea posting record losses. It led to all major players increase tariffs. 

Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman of the Aditya Birla Group earlier said that they would have to shut operations in the country without help from the government, and Sunil Bharti, chairman of Airtel, said that the situation is dire. 

“The situation is dire — it is a matter of survival for everyone. Vodafone (Idea) is in losses, Airtel is in losses, (state-owned) BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd) is in losses,” he had said. 

Read: Are internet shutdowns becoming the new normal in India?