Network data from NetBlocks confirm a significant slowing of internet service for many users in Zimbabwe on Sunday 20 February 2022, as a major political opposition rally is held in Harare. The incident impacts multiple operators and has prevented live streaming from the Yellow Sunday demonstration by the Citizens Coalition For Change party, which seeks to unseat the ruling ZANU–PF.
⚠️ Confirmed: Metrics indicate that internet service is degraded for many users in #Zimbabwe; the incident is likely to limit live streaming and access to online content as #YellowSunday opposition rallies are held at Highfields, Harare 📉
— NetBlocks (@netblocks) February 20, 2022
The root cause of Sunday’s network disruption has not yet been conclusively identified, but metrics are potentially consistent with the slowing, or throttling, of service.
On 13 March 2022, a new series of disruptions was registered amid further opposition demonstrations. Metrics confirm that the disruptions have occurred at the backbone which serves each provider, and not at the cell towers due to congestion as claimed by some sources:
⚠️ Confirmed: Internet disruptions on networks served by government-owned operator TelOne in #Zimbabwe have again limited coverage of opposition rallies and arrests; data corroborate user reports of unexplained outages over the weekend 📉
— NetBlocks (@netblocks) March 13, 2022
- Zimbabwe Opposition Accuses State Of Rigging Elections – AFP/Barron’s
- ‘We are scrutinising the voters’ roll!’ – Zimbabwe opposition – African Insider
- Zimbabwe internet disruption limits coverage of planned protests
- Zimbabwe Internet shutdowns amid fuel price protests
Internet performance and service reachability are determined via NetBlocks web probe privacy-preserving analytics. Each measurement consists of latency round trip time, outage type and autonomous system number aggregated in real-time to assess service availability and latency in a given country. Network providers and locations are enumerated as vantage point pairs. The root cause of a service outage may be additionally corroborated by means of traffic analysis and manual testing as detailed in the report.
NetBlocks diffscans, which map the IP address space of a country in real time, show internet connectivity levels and corresponding outages. Purposeful internet outages may 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.
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