The NetBlocks internet observatory has identified a second, major national power outage affecting critical infrastructure outages across Venezuela starting 3:40 PM UTC (11:40 AM VET) Saturday 9 March, sending 96% of the country’s telecommunications infrastructure offline. On Thursday, a widespread power disruption knocked much of Venezuela’s internet connectivity and its utilities offline.
— NetBlocks (@netblocks) March 9, 2019
Venezuela had been expected to hold some of its largest protests on Saturday after interim president Juan Guaidó called citizens to the streets through social media, which were met with a 20-hour block of YouTube by state-run internet provider ABA CANTV (AS8048). Media coverage emerging from Venezuela on Saturday immediately prior to the new outage showed a strong response from state police against the public assemblies.
Videos of an explosion at the Sidor electric substation in Puerto Ordaz, Guayana started to circulate on social media shortly after the latest disruption was detected, indicating a cause for the new outage.
Internet-scale network measurements indicate which regions have been affected and to what extent. During previous network and power outages, concerns were raised about attacks and military activity, and the risk of human rights violations perpetrated under the cover of darkness.
The current outages are the largest measured in 2019 in magnitude and extent, spanning across Caracas and having an impact across several major population centers. Hospitals have reported failures of intensive care units although the overall human impact to local communities remains unknown.
NetBlocks diffscans, which map the entire IP address space of a country in real time, show internet outages corresponding to power cuts in the region.
Internet outages caused by electricity grid disruptions 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.
The timing and coincidence with events of political significance in the region have fuelled and mistrust during the crisis. It is to be noted that Venezuela does experience frequent power cuts, and Venezuela started power rationing and reduced its electricity consumption to about 14,000 megawatts at peak hours because of the economic crisis in 2018, making it difficult to produce a conclusive determination. NetBlocks historic data suggest that incidents of this scale are rare.
Update: 8:10 PM UTC: New data shows profound and sustained impact on #Venezuela’s telecommunications infrastructure after second nationwide power outage with 96% of country remaining offline:
Update: New data shows profound and sustained impact on #Venezuela's telecommunications infrastructure after second nationwide power outage with 96% of country remaining offline #SinLuz #ApagonNacional #9Mar ⬇️https://t.co/U2wV1aJihu pic.twitter.com/ejO8wsMto2
— NetBlocks (@netblocks) March 9, 2019
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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