State-sanctioned robbery - Ethiopia Internet users continue to receive bills for the service despite the government shutdown
10 Dec 2016 - Ethiopians are being forced to pay for internet use despite the TPLF government declaration of a state of emergency to impose bans on telecommunications, media and Internet for six month.
Leased line users who had unlimited access to the internet are being charged US$ 1,000 per month without services being provide to them since October. Subscribers who were allowed only eight hours per month, the lowest category C-1 are paying US$19 to the Tigrayan government.
The state of emergency, effective from 08 October 2016, comes as a result of a thousand people being killed in protests in the Oromiya region surrounding the capital Addis Ababa and other parts of Ethiopia since 2015.
Ethiopia is not new to Internet shutdowns with another closure taking place as recently as July 2016 on the pretext of "preventing leakages during the national exams."
Just a month before the shutdowns began, in June 2016, the number of Internet users in Ethiopia were 4,500,000, 4.4% of the population per IWS, one of the lowest rates of internet access in Africa.
The U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa said the shutdown of Internet by the Ethiopian regime has severely affected its activities.
Responding to complaints by Ethiopians, who are having difficulty in communicating with the Embassy due to the blockage of the Internet and social media, the Embassy insincerely said it shared the frustrations of the public. “We share your frustration, as the restrictions severely affect our activities as well."
The TPLF-owned EthioTelecom (previously known as Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation (ETC)) is the sole Internet service provider (ISP) in the country and have exclusive control of Internet access throughout the country.