First Quarter, 2015 Internet Disruptions
Internet disruptions are still a frustrating reality in many regions across the globe. The most common types of disruptions generally fall into three categories: accidental (backhoes or ship anchors severing buried fiber), natural (hurricanes, earthquakes, etc.), or political (shut down by a government in response to protest). As a provider of customer content across the globe, Akamai is in a unique position to monitor traffic levels to each country/region. The following events are highlights of global disruptions that impacted Akamai traffic in specific countries during the first quarter of 2015.
On January 10th at 11:40 PM UTC, Akamai saw traffic delivered to Colombia drop off by 50%. Over the next few hours, traffic slowly climbed back to normal usage patterns--returning to the daily cyclical pattern at 3:00 AM UTC on January 11th. According to the Colombian government, the outage was due to a break in the provider's fiber optic network, likely caused by vandalism.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Beginning at midnight UTC on January 20th, Akamai-served traffic to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) dropped to 10% of its normal levels, following a government shutdown of all Internet services to the capital, Kinshasa. The Internet shut off attempted to curtail regional protests in opposition to President Joseph Kabila. This marks the second time in four years that the DRC has reportedly blocked Internet and social media access to prevent the coordination of public protests. Traffic began to recover somewhat on the morning of January 22nd, as the DRC government most likely restored Internet access to some specific government and banking institutions. But it wasn't until three weeks later, on February 8th, that traffic returned to normal levels.
During the first quarter of 2015, Gabon experienced two Internet failures. The first was on March 9th, which lasted for over 15 hours--between the hours of 2:15 AM to 5:40 PM UTC. A subsequent disruption on March 12th saw outages among 75% of routed networks. The outage on March 12th was reportedly the result of striking Gabon Telecom workers.
Syria sustained multiple Internet disruptions throughout the first quarter. The first was recorded on January 26th, when traffic dropped to roughly 15% of normal levels at 8:50 AM UTC, followed by a subsequent drop beginning at 11:35 AM UTC through 12:50 PM UTC. Traffic to the country dropped again on February 26 between 2:10 AM UTC and 3:40 AM UTC. While it remains unclear what caused the second drop in traffic, Dyn Research noted that two-thirds of Syria's routed networks were knocked out at the time.
In early March, following a category-five tropical cyclone, Vanuatu saw severe Internet disruptions. On March 13th, as the cyclone hit the island, Akamai observed traffic levels drop suddenly around 11:30 AM UTC. As the Regional Internet Registry for the Asia Pacific region noted, Telecom Vanuatu went offline at the time. Traffic levels stayed extremely low for more than 36 hours before slowly beginning to recover; however, it took about 10 days total for traffic to gradually climb back up to normal levels.
For more information on the first quarter's connectivity disruptions, download Akamai's free State of the Internet: Q1 2014 Report.