The Internet Society and NetBlocks are teaming up to develop a tool to better measure the cost of Internet shutdowns, and convince governments to keep the Internet on. The Cost of Shutdown Tool (COST) will be a data-driven online tool that will enable anyone – including journalists, researchers, advocates, policy makers, businesses, and many others – to quickly and easily estimate the economic cost of Internet disruptions.

The tool will cover shutdowns affecting social media, key content platforms and full Internet blackouts using key indicators relating to the global digital economy. Development of this online and mobile platform has started, and we expect an early functioning platform to be available by summer 2018.

Built around a methodology devised by the Brookings Institution, the Cost of Shutdown Tool (COST) estimates economic cost of internet shutdowns, mobile data blackouts and social media restrictions using regional indicators from the World Bank, ITU, Eurostat and U.S. Census. In later stages, COST will also explore means to assess secondary impacts such as those caused by loss in investor confidence and shadow economies using additional studies such as those proposed for sub-Saharan Africa.

COST has already been trialled for international policy and advocacy work in 2018, with live technology demonstrations at RightsCon Toronto and the Oslo Freedom Forum in anticipation of an upcoming beta and launch later in 2018.


Avoid error-prone hand calculations - COST automates the process of estimating the economic impact of shutdowns


Specialised datasets, economic models and currencies make COST assessments relevant to local communities


Take COST with you to forums and meetings to support your policy work and with annotated economic figures