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Calculating the cost of switching off

Internet shutdowns cost millions. No, wait a minute…tens of millions. Actually, make that billions of dollars. Many existing studies use different indicators and timeframes, making them hard to compare. And it matters whether you’re measuring the cost for a city, a country or around the world; and whether you’re looking at it over a day, week, month or year.

New tool

To this end, we at the Internet Society teamed up with NetBlocks to develop a platform to quickly and accurately estimate the cost of Internet shutdowns, mobile data, blackouts and social media restrictions.

The Cost of Shutdown Tool (COST), is a data-driven online policy instrument that can quickly estimate the economic impact of Internet shutdowns and online restrictions. It is built upon established research papers published by the Brookings Institution for global coverage and a specialised model by CIPESA for sub-Saharan Africa, taking into account indirect economic factors and informal economies that play a major role in the region. Economic indicators are integrated from open data sources including the World Bank, ITU and Eurostat.

Users simply need to select their (1) geographic region and town name, city or country (2) impacted services, which may be a full Internet blackout, or only specific social media/communications platforms (such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, WhatsApp or Skype) and (3) the duration of the incident. The resulting price tag will be displayed in the local currency and in international currencies (dollar or euro), alongside icons indicating the impact on economy and society.

If you knew that pulling the plug on your neighbourhood’s Internet connection was going to cost local businesses hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost sales and productivity and cost dozens of people their jobs, would you still do it?

We hope this tool will help convince governments to switch it on and keep the Internet on. #KeepItOn

Find out how much it would cost your city if the Internet was suddenly shut down.
NetBlocks and the Internet Society launch tool to calculate the cost of Internet censorship worldwide
Connecting the World 10 December 2018

NetBlocks and the Internet Society launch tool to calculate the cost of Internet censorship worldwide

NetBlocks and the Internet Society have partnered up to build a tool to better measure the cost of Internet...

The Internet Society and NetBlocks Team up to Keep it on!
The Internet Society and NetBlocks Team up to Keep it on! Thumbnail
Connecting the World 22 November 2017

The Internet Society and NetBlocks Team up to Keep it on!

How much do government shutdowns cost? How do they impact growth and prosperity? In 2016 Internet shutdowns cost globally...

Internet Shutdowns cannot be a solution to political challenges in Chad
Internet Shutdowns cannot be a solution to political challenges in Chad Thumbnail
Connecting the World 10 April 2018

Internet Shutdowns cannot be a solution to political challenges in Chad

The Internet Society is concerned with the continuous disruptions of Internet and social media services in Chad in the...