Partial internet disruption registered in Iran

Network data from the NetBlocks internet observatory confirm disruptions to mobile networks in Iran on the morning of Wednesday, 25 December. The outage has partial impact and is ongoing at the time of writing. Users report service failures in multiple cities, although the extent of the disruptions has not yet been corroborated.

Network data show two distinct falls in connectivity at approximately 6:30 a.m. local time (03:00 UTC) and 8:00 a.m. (04:30 UTC) affecting mobile provider RighTel, Iran’s third licensed mobile network operator. Severe slowdowns and restrictions to international platforms have been reported with other providers including the leading mobile operators as well as fixed-line networks and are being investigated.

Observations are consistent with a targeted disruption and do not appear to be related to any international issue. Users have speculated a possible connection with anticipated protests on 26 December 2019, which marks the 40th day of mourning for those killed in November.

Background

On December 19, Iran was one of several countries to be affected by an international network failure that also caused widespread disruption to Google services and sparked concerns about intentional blocking.

In November, Iran deliberately shut down internet access amid widespread public protests.

The November disruptions were introduced over a period of 24 hours culminating in a disconnection of all mobile networks followed by a near-total national internet blackout and partial shutdown of telephony services lasting several days.

During that period, access to limited national services became available for some users as part of the country’s national intranet, or National Information Network. Partial connectivity was restored a week after the first outages but mobile networks remained cut for longer and certain regions only regained connectivity weeks later.

 

Live article: Report will be updated as new data is processed.


Methodology

NetBlocks diffscans, which map the IP address space of a country in real time, show internet outages corresponding to connectivity disruptions. Purposeful internet outages generally have a distinct network pattern used by NetBlocks to determine and attribute the root cause of an outage, a process known as attribution which follows detection and classification stages.

A summary of data visualizations used in this report:

  • Network Connectivity by Provider: A subset of internet providers and networks serving the affected region are visualized in a stacked time-series histogram to identify the start and end times of an internet shutdown event. Scales on the y-axis are adjusted to match localized maxima while minima indicate periods when networks became unreachable. The x-axis represents Universal Coordinated time (GMT+0).
    • Standard: Connectivity levels on the y-axis correspond directly to the observed number of reachable connections, as with National Connectivity charts.

NetBlocks is a civil society group working at the intersection of digital rights, cyber-security and internet governance. Independent and non-partisan, NetBlocks strives for an open and inclusive digital future for all.

[ methodology handbook | press | contact ] Graphics and visualizations provided under a free and open license for reuse with clear attribution.