Total internet outage identified in Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s internet has been totally cut off as of 7:30 a.m. UTC Tuesday 11 June 2019. The disruption follows the partial restriction of messaging apps beginning Monday and is believed to be a measure to counter cheating during national secondary school final exams.

Data show that connectivity with the country’s only internet provider, state-run Ethiopia Telecom (AS24757) has been disconnected at the recorded time. No public statement was available at the time of writing.

Update: Connectivity was restored as of 12:30 p.m. UTC, but cut again hours later. A second shutdown which started in the evening has ended on 12 June at 6:30 a.m. UTC, however service is degraded to the point of being unusable.

Update: On Thursday 13 June 2019, Ethiopia is offline for a third day with internet access cut again in an attempt to prevent cheating during secondary school final exams — this time some 10% of connectivity has been left working:

Update: On Friday 14 June 2019, Ethiopia is offline for a fourth day with internet access remaining cut again — this time some 12% of connectivity has been left working. The incident is ongoing:

Update: Friday 14 June, 4:00 p.m. UTC:  Internet has partially returned to Ethiopia following four days of outages, however national connectivity remains unstable at 67%. Following four days of near-total internet disruption, network data show messaging apps WhatsApp and Telegram remain restricted, while SMS text messaging is also disabled:

Update: Monday 17 June, 11:00 a.m. UTC: Access to WhatsApp is being restored following the disruption messaging apps that began 10 June 2019, according to network data. Servers for Telegram, one of the most popular messaging apps in Ethiopia, remain blocked preventing web access and registration. However the Telegram mobile app is known to incorporate a degree of censorship resistance:

Update: Nationwide internet connectivity in Ethiopia appeared to return to ordinary levels by Tuesday 18 June 2019. However, Telegram remains restricted as of Friday 21 with no explanation as to why messaging apps were blocked:

Next: Internet shutdown in Ethiopia amid reports of attempted coup


Methodology

Internet performance and reachability of social media and messaging apps are determined via NetBlocks web probe measurements. Each measurement consists of latency round trip time, outage type and autonomous system identity aggregated in real-time to assess service availability and quality in a given country across service providers.

NetBlocks diffscans, which map the entire 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.


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.

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