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Activists Blame Houthi Corruption for Internet Blackout

Activists Blame Houthi Corruption for Internet Blackout

Sunday, 12 January, 2020 - 11:15
Houthi militants in Sanaa. (Reuters file photo)
Sanaa – Asharq Al-Awsat

For the third consecutive day, the Iran-backed Houthi militias denied almost 8 million Yemenis from using home internet services almost entirely under the pretext of a submarine cable cut outside Yemen.

Specialists and activists have questioned the Houthi excuse for the blackout, accusing the group of corruption and delaying in paying the fees of the global company providing the service, as well as the group's intention to put new restrictions on usage.

Houthis, who control the local internet provider TeleYemen, claimed that there are determined efforts to repair the cable and reboot the service in the near future.

Yemeni professionals in the telecommunications sector ruled out the Houthis’ excuse to justify the almost complete internet shutdown in the country.

Professionals, quoting sources in Sanaa, confirmed that Houthis had not paid the fees of the international provider, Falcon Internet, which forced the latter to cut the service.

Other activists reported that Houthi militias cut off the internet in order to install new spying devices, a process that needs some time to complete.

Yemeni activists accused the militias of seeking to isolate Yemenis from the world. The Houthis have taken several measures to bar Yemenis from accessing the internet, among which was raising prices by over 130% and deliberately weakening the service.

More so, some activists pointed out that if the Houthi claim of a submarine cable being cut were correct, other regional countries would have been affected as well. The damage has only been restricted to Yemen.

Workers in the Houthi-run telecommunications sector blamed the militias for the shortcomings in the sector, saying Houthi leaders have exploited the sector for personal interests.

Workers accuse the militias of stealing the balances of subscribers and providing the poorest services worldwide, especially in terms of internet speed.

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