What 300 Days of Internet Winter in Kashmir Tell Us About Erecting a Digital Wall

This is an extract from the full article published on The Wire


What is the cost of this protracted disruption?

There is no shortage of real-life stories about the economic impact this prolonged Internet disruption has had in the union territory. Media reports are replete with such examples.

Given that we are still in the midst of these events, an academic exercise to estimate the economic costs has not been published.

Still, using available numbers regarding internet subscribers (38% from TRAI for the service area of Jammu and Kashmir) and a rough estimate of time connected drawn out from reports on patterns of internet usage by people in India (different sources peg the ‘active consumption’ time between 90 minutes and 150 minutes. Let’s use the higher end of that range. Note that there is no measure of passive consumption impacted), it is possible to arrive at a back-of-the-envelope ‘estimate’ of how many hours of Internet access have potentially been disrupted since August 4, 2019.

Between August 4 and January 14, when there was a complete shutdown, this number amounted to ~1.9 billion hours. In the period from January 14 to March 4, when there was whitelisted access another ~600 million hours were added. And the 87 days between then and May 30, will have accounted for another ~1 billion hours. That adds up to around 3.5 billion hours of disrupted internet access for approximately 12.25 million people. Let that sink in.