Cloudflare, a web performance and security solutions company, has said that the second quarter of 2023 was a busy one for internet disruptions, and especially for government-directed internet shutdowns.

“During the quarter, we observed many brief disruptions, but also quite a few long-lived ones,” it said in its report on the state of internet disruptions in the second quarter of 2023.

“In addition to the government-directed internet shutdowns, we also observed partial or complete outages due to severe weather, cable damage, power outages, general or unspecified technical problems, cyberattacks, military action, and infrastructure maintenance,” David Belson of Cloudflare, has said.

The report pointed out the prolonged internet shutdown in Manipur. “One such shutdown took place in the northeastern Indian State of Manipur starting on May 3 after the escalation of ethnic conflict,” it said.

It was also reported that the shutdown was to check against the likelihood of “serious disturbances to the entire peaceful coexistence of the communities and maintenance of public order”.

Mobile data services were initially suspended for a five-day period, with the suspension continually extended through additional ‘templated orders’ issued every five days.

Frequent shutdown

The report said internet shutdowns “are unfortunately frequent in India, with digital rights organisation Access Now reporting at least 84 shutdowns within the country in 2022”.

The shutdowns are generally implemented at a more local level and often last for a significant amount of time. 

Traffic on Airtel has remained low and continued to drop further through the end of June. Traffic on BSNL showed slight signs of recovery starting in early June but remains extremely low.

The shutdown order remains in place as of the time of this writing (late July), the Cloudflare report said.

Cloudflare operates in more than 300 cities in over 100 countries, where it interconnects with over 12,000 network providers in order to provide a broad range of services to millions of customers.

“The breadth of both our network and our customer base provides us with a unique perspective on internet resilience, enabling us to observe the impact of internet disruptions,” the report said.