The blackout has left businesses, universities, banks, and even government media cut off from one another. This is not the first time the Horn of Africa nation shut down social media outlets to prevent exam leakages. In July 2016, the government blocked social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Viber after university entrance exam questions were posted online. Ethiopia has already one of the lowest internet and mobile connectivity rates in the world. The Internet connectivity had returned by Thursday morning, but that connectivity was not stable or fast.
Ethiopia only has one telecommunications provider, Ethio Telecom. Julie Owono, the executive director of the advocacy group Internet Sans Frontières said the latest shutdown was “unnecessary” and violated the digital rights of Ethiopians. The country has 11.95 mobile-broadband subscriptions per 100 people, compared to 0.66 fixed-broadband subscriptions, according to the International Telecommunications Union. Between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016, the internet was shut down for a period of 30 days in Ethiopia; this cost the country’s economy $8.6 million.