- Internet blackout in Pakistan causes significant losses for businesses and individuals.
- Telecom estimates revenue loss of Rs. 820 million, government loses around Rs. 287 million in tax revenue.
- Shutdown affects service app workers, digital businesses, freelancers, and healthcare services, impacting the economy and people’s access to essential services.
Businessmen, women, entrepreneurs, startups, and Pakistanis, in general, have recently called out the government for deliberately causing an internet blackout across Pakistan, resulting in significant losses.
According to the latest reports, the telecom has estimated a massive revenue loss of Rs. 820 million, whereas the government itself has endured a heavy loss of around Rs. 287 million in tax revenue.
Moreover, those individuals who earn through service apps including inDrive, Careem, Uber, foodpanda, etc have also faced massive losses in their wages, not to mention the businesses that are in partnership with said platforms.
Tech guru Jehan Ara spoke out asking for the services to be restored, not only are businesses suffering but this act has also impacted a person’s ability to reach and avail emergency services. Moreover, she pointed out that closing the services is not a solution, it damages Digital Pakistan’s reputation as a brand around the world.
Pakistani Police Face Backlash for Hurting Female Protestors
During this internet blackout crisis, Jazz CEO, Aamir Ibrahim, emphasized that shutting down the internet is not a viable solution as it exacerbates problems rather than resolving them.
He highlighted the significant impact on 125 million Pakistanis without mobile internet for nearly 24 hours, depriving them of a crucial tool for emergencies and productivity.
Aamir underscored that while the quantifiable economic damage is substantial, the immeasurable inconvenience caused to individuals cannot be underestimated.
Disruption in mobile services as well as the internet blackout was recorded all over Pakistan, including major cities such as Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, and Rawalpindi.
Impact of Internet Blackout on Digital Businesses, Online Jobs
According to a report by ProPakistani, here is the number of people affected by the disruption of services:
- Around 160,000 Bykea, InDrive, Careem, and Uber captains, drivers and riders
- Around 12,000 foodpanda home chefs, restaurants
- Roughly 500,000 freelancers
- Almost 90,000 POS vendors
- Some 42,483,573 mobile wallets
- 6,000+ e-commerce stores
According to a report from Reuters, there have been significant drops of nearly 50% in point-of-sale (POS) transactions following the arrest of Imran Khan, which triggered widespread protests across the country. In order to mitigate the impact, authorities made the decision to temporarily suspend mobile internet services, at least in the online realm.
The absence of internet connectivity means that users are unable to take advantage of crucial digital services, such as telehealth, which greatly benefit numerous patients, especially those who are immobilized or residing in remote areas lacking basic healthcare facilities.
The demand for emergency telehealth services increased even in urban areas, where major roads were blocked and access to hospitals was limited. A reliable healthcare source revealed that the absence of mobile internet had a negative impact on caregivers who deliver healthcare services to patients’ homes and maintain remote connections with them.
Pakistan has a thriving startup and freelancer ecosystem that relies on consistent internet connectivity. The losses incurred by these small businesses during internet blackouts could potentially be impossible.
Recognized as a renowned global freelancing platform, Fiverr has temporarily deactivated the accounts of Pakistani freelancers due to the unavailability of internet access in the country.
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