Uganda begins restoring access to the internet after 5-day shutdown

After a blackout beginning on 13 January 2021 ahead of the nationwide elections, internet connectivity as back up to 90% of ordinary levels

This is according to Network data from the NetBlocks Internet Observatory who announced that basic network connectivity has returned as of the 18th, reaching 90% of ordinary levels by the evening. However, an extensive list of social media and messaging restrictions remain in place, similar to that observed prior to the elections.

Following prior social media and messaging restrictions recorded Tuesday 12 January 2021, the extension of restrictions issued by order of the Uganda Communications Commission before, during, and after presidential and parliamentary elections held on the 14th.

Internet service was shut down across major providers as of 7 p.m. Wednesday 13 January 2021 leaving citizens in an information vacuum that has remained in place during the preliminary announcement of results. As polls closed and vote counting began, national internet connectivity fell further to just 12% of ordinary levels.

Previously, from Tuesday to Wednesday evening metrics showed that Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat, Skype, Viber, Google Play Store, some Telegram servers and link shortening services were among a lengthy list of pre-selected online platforms unavailable via Uganda’s main cell network operators.

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