Ethiopia persists with no Internet
JOHANNESBURG — Ethiopia is entering its third week without Internet service for almost everyone after days of deadly unrest, as the government in Africa’s diplomatic and aviation hub says it’s trying to prevent speech that could further inflame ethnic tensions.
The Internet cut has damaged the economy in Africa’s second most populous nation, with nearly 110 million people, as it struggles with the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic. It also has revived some fears of government repression.
An update by Internet monitoring group NetBlocks on Tuesday evening said some fixed-line Internet had started to return but the more widespread mobile Internet remained cut.
Connectivity early on had dropped as low as 1%, it said.
“The disruption constitutes a severe violation of basic rights at a time Ethiopians most need to stay informed,” NetBlocks has said, reporting an estimated economic impact of more than $4 million per day.
The cut also has hurt the dissemination of key information about the Coronavirus pandemic as Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, is the home of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other arms of the African Union continental body.
Last week as the Africa CDC prepared for its weekly media briefing, one staffer was heard asking another how to explain to reporters why the previous week’s briefing had been canceled.
A pause. “We had technical issues,” a colleague replied.