Zimbabwe Internet shutdowns amid fuel price protests

The NetBlocks internet shutdown observatory has detected multiple outages in Zimbabwe, including network infrastructure disruptions as well as the apparent blocking of over a dozen social media platforms and major websites as of 15 January 2019.

A network shutdown has taken much of Bulawayo offline as of the 7:00AM morning of the 15th, and continued to extend to other parts of the country by 8:00AM, impacting TelOne and Econet.

From 11:00AM further disruptions have placed further significant limitations on the flow of information in and out of Zimbabwe. NetBlocks continues to observe localised service blocking as well as the major shutdowns, based on 30,000 probe tests and 20,000,000 IP tests.

The progression the network disruptions can be clearly seen from the temporospatial visualisation of network reachability of 5,000,000 network addresses through the morning:

Providers affected by the website restrictions include ZOL Zimbabwe and NetOne Mobile.

By Wednesday morning, a fourth set of disruptions sent some of the last remaining internet connections in the country offline, with capital Harare dropping off significantly.


Those users who are still online face extensive online platform restrictions; ZOL ISP blocks pictured




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.

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.

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