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Global Internet outage could cost $43bn in a single day

Written by Mon 20 Nov 2023

The indispensability of the Internet in our modern world is highlighted by a new report, revealing that a global Internet outage could result in a staggering loss of £34.4 billion ($43 billion).

This figure, presented by Atlas VPN, underscores the profound economic impact that an Internet shutdown would have worldwide.

Vilius Kardelis, a Cybersecurity Writer at Atlas VPN, said: “We often do not appreciate the backbone role the Internet now plays. An outage would bring activities to a standstill and underscore how much our economic functions depend on stable online access.”

The United States and China, two of the most Internet-dependent countries, would bear the brunt of such an outage.

The US could face losses of around £8.8 billion ($11 billion), severely disrupting consumer spending and business operations.

Similarly, China, with its reliance on manufacturing and global exporting, could lose nearly £8 billion ($10 billion), though the actual cost might be higher.

Kardelis emphasised the broader societal implications of Internet access: “Access to the Internet should be a basic human right, and should not be restricted by governments or providers.”

The report also highlighted the significant economic impacts on other major economies.

The United Kingdom, with its strong e-commerce and financial services sectors, could see losses of approximately £2.4 billion ($3 billion). Japan’s reliance on advanced telecommunications and Internet technology translates to a potential loss of about £2.1 billion ($2.7 billion).

Germany, known for its world-leading manufacturing industry and the integration of Industry 4.0, could face losses of £1.2 billion ($1.5 billion). This estimation is based on its GDP share and the high level of Internet dependency across its industrial sectors.

In contrast, smaller Oceanic islands like Tuvalu, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, and Micronesia would experience the least impact, with potential losses not exceeding £40,000 ($50,000).

To put these numbers in perspective, if someone spent £800 ($1,000) every day, it would take them around 2,740 years to spend a billion dollars.

The report, which utilised the NetBlocks Cost of Shutdown Tool, reflected the economic implications of a global Internet outage. This tool estimates the financial impact of Internet outages based on indicators from various global economic sources, including the World Bank and Eurostat.

Graph of Top 10 countries where a day without internet costs the most, 2023

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Written by Mon 20 Nov 2023

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