back to article Cost of Africa's internet shutdowns? $1m a day – quarter of a billion total

A new report estimates the cost to African countries routinely pulling the plug on their citizens' internet access is around $1m a day. In the past two years, 12 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have imposed a range of internet shutdowns from full national blackouts of connectivity, to regional takedowns, to social media …

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Childcatcher

"suddenly removing people's ability to communicate"

This could also be various rural parts of Third World Britain, albeit thanks to the woeful lack of infrastructure, not censorship.

Yes, speaking from first-hand experience.

For example, the mobile signal for a seven mile radius around my house is zero bars. Landline "broadband" is like using a 33.6K US Robotics modem from the early 90s. Even that one-way communication protocol - television - is limited to just three channels, unless I waste yet more money on a Sky box.

Yup, I'd feel right at home in Africa.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "suddenly removing people's ability to communicate"

I see your 33.6k US robotics modem and raise you a Hayes 9600 Optima modem.

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Go

Re: "suddenly removing people's ability to communicate"

A seven-mile radius of reception manquée is a difficult technical feat, worthy of the highly advanced civilisation which brought it into being.

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Re: "suddenly removing people's ability to communicate"

"Yup, I'd feel right at home in Africa."

No, it is considerably warmer, drier and sunnier in Africa. You'd feel a whole lot better!

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Re: "suddenly removing people's ability to communicate"

"For example, the mobile signal for a seven mile radius around my house is zero bars."

Dear Govt.,

I submit that the relocation of all prisons to within a 7 mile radius of Oh Homers house will solve the problem of smuggling mobile phones into prisons. Please remit the £50,000 soonest.

Yours

John Brown (no body)

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Re: "suddenly removing people's ability to communicate"

Well other than the whole pervasive corruption on a scale few Brits can even begin to fathom, yeah sure, pretty much the same. Oh... but drier? Rather depends where you are, Africa is a large place & many parts are more or less constantly soggy and smell of rotting plant litter and garbage ;-)

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Thumb Up

Does this amount include the Nigerian 401 scams? And can we keep Nigeria cut off? Pretty please?

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Anonymous Coward

It can but you need to includes the bankings details for the ten percentings fees to cover it.

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Why Shutdown? Build Up (walls)!

China seems to have a pretty good hand on restricting the internet for it's citizens. But I suppose forcing Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple, Twitter, etc... to all bend to your will requires a massive GDP that no African country can match.

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@hellwig

But I suppose forcing Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple, Twitter, etc... to all bend to your will requires a massive GDP united CPC that no African country can match. FTFY.

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Re: Why Shutdown? Build Up (walls)!

True, when you are a nominally communist state with an unrepentant history of mass murder within living memory, on a scale unmatched in human history, it is amazing what you can force through

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Do keep in mind...

... that this is (usually) offset against the value of one's hide to the political/military types. If they are typical, they overvalue it in relation to their actual value in the political market so, from their point of view, it's a tradeoff best made.

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Unhappy

this reflects why African countries remain economically disadvantaged

it was mentioned, sort of, in the article, that screwing around with intarweb reliability harms economic growth.

Let's say my company wants to leverage cheap labor in Africa. OK we maybe try to get something in Nigeria, where they're apparenly so bored and poor they can't do anything that's not a 419 scam [or so it would seem]. So we want to build a factory there and hire locals and make wiring harnesses or something that requires a lot of manual labor and China is too expensive, now.

However, because various warlords get into pissing contests more often than not, and "someone" decides to disrupt intarweb, including YOUR VPN NETWORK that you're using to pass company secrets between the factory and your main office, because they can't spy on it. Or they accuse people of using 'social media' without their required filtering via your network. Or whatever. Maybe you just didn't pay them enough to go away.

In any case, if this is "matter of course" in Africa, no WONDER investors are hesitant to build factories over there. They're quire literally KILLING their own opportunity, and KEEPING their own people poor.

Or was THAT the plan from the beginning?

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