Internet shutdowns lead to losses of ₹2.45 crore per hour: Telcos

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on December 29, 2019 Published on December 29, 2019

Internet cable   -  Representative Image: Reuters

Switching off internet services as per government orders hurts dependent businesses to the tune of ₹ 2.45 crore per hour, according to Telecom companies.

A telecom industry association representative said, “It is estimated that the loss has increased to ₹ 2.45 crore per hour by the end of 2019 as the dependence of various services on internet has significantly increased.”

Telecom companies have to abide by the government orders to suspend or shut down internet under their license obligation.

The fear of losses increasing grew when mobile internet services were disrupted across parts of Uttar Pradesh for eight consecutive days. These shutdowns were a part of efforts to curb violence linked to the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests.

Also read: Disconnected in UP as mobile Internet remains shut

As per the Telecom Statistics of India (TSI) 2018, Uttar Pradesh has 167.59 million wireless telecom (mobile) subscribers, spread evenlyacross urban and rural regions. With 14.1 per cent of the total subscribers, the State has the highest number of mobile users in the country.

The shutdown crippled internet banking, app-based cab aggregator services of Ola and Uber, and app-based food delivery services of Zomato and Swiggy. As a spill-over effect, there was substantial drop in the sale of Compressed Natural Gas in the cities whereOla and Uber services were plying.

The telecom industry representative said, “On August 8, 2017, a Gazette Notification was issued describing the process of this shutdown. The orders have to come from the Secretary, MHA or Secretary to the State Government in charge of Home Department, or by an officer not below the rank of Joint Secretary to the Government of India, who has been duly authorised by the Union Home Secretary or the State Home Secretary (subject to confirmation from MHA or state Home Department within 24 hours).”

“Despite the above rule, internet shutdowns become a habit. They are imposed in India more often than in all other countries combined, sometimes for bizarre or trivial reasons. It is clearly visible that internet shutdowns don’t stop demonstrations,” the representative added.

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Published on December 29, 2019
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