Venezuela suffers major power outage knocking out internet connectivity

The NetBlocks internet observatory has identified a nationwide power outage and fluctuations in supply across Venezuela as of 5:45 p.m. Sunday 1 March 2020, impacting multiple states and cities and also affecting parts of Caracas, sending approximately 35% of the country’s telecommunications infrastructure offline.

Data indicate that several states of Venezuela have been severely impacted by the new power disruption with limited connectivity for many until some five hours later. Mobile networks were also partially affected by the disruption but were restored more rapidly after the fluctuations, which have been described variously as dips and surges, were observed.

The incident comes almost one year after the collapse of Venezuela’s national power grid. Impact to telecommunication networks was higher in this instance than in other cases since the onset of national grid failures on 7 March 2019.

In previous incidents hospitals reported failures and loss of life caused by failure of emergency and long-term healthcare systems. The human and economic impact of the failures remains largely unassessed.

 


Methodology

NetBlocks diffscans, which map the IP address space of a country in real time, show internet connectivity levels and corresponding outages. Purposeful internet outages generally 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.

A summary of data visualizations used in this report:

  • Network Connectivity (National): Internet providers and networks serving the affected region are visualized in a stacked time-series histogram to identify the start and end times of an internet shutdown event. Scales on the y-axis are adjusted to match localized maxima while minima indicate periods when networks became unreachable. The x-axis represents Universal Coordinated time (GMT+0).
    • Standard: Connectivity levels on the y-axis correspond directly to the observed number of reachable connections, as with National Connectivity charts.

NetBlocks is a civil society group working at the intersection of digital rights, cyber-security and internet governance. Independent and non-partisan, NetBlocks strives for an open and inclusive digital future for all.

[ methodology handbook | press | contact ] Graphics and visualizations provided under a free and open license for reuse with clear attribution.