Sudan loses Internet access, government may be to blame

Connectivity to one of three major international ISPs in Sudan has been restored, following reports that the government may be responsible for cutting off the country’s access amid riots over the lifting of fuel subsidies.

The African country began losing access to the Internet around 4 p.m. local time Wednesday. Access to the Internet through Canar telecommunications was restored a couple of hours later, but the majority of the country still lacks access, said Doug Madory, senior analyst at the Internet analysis company Renesys.

This is the largest national blackout since Egypt lost its access to the Internet in 2011, he said. The country’s two largest international ISP gateways, Sudatel and Zain, were still down at press time.

Renesys has seen some other large national outages in Bangladesh, Myanmar and Syria. The fact that all three international gateways in Sudan began losing access around the same time shows that the event was either government directed or the result of a catastrophic physical failure, Madory said.

Still, “we can only confirm that the Internet is down,” he said.

Local television news broadcaster Al Arabiya reported earlier Wednesday that Internet access was cut and schools were closed through Monday.

Wednesday marked the third day of violent protests against a cut in fuel subsidies, as protestors torched cars and petrol stations, and threw rocks at police in the capital city of Khartoum, Al Arabiya said.

Sudan was urged to cut subsidies by the International Monetary Fund when the country lost its main oil-producing territory after South Sudan became an independent state in 2011, the Washington Post reported.

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