Internet service providers in Bali will turn off mobile internet for 24 hours on March 17th to mark Nyepi, or New Year, on the Balinese calendar according to multiple media outlets. Authorities requested the companies switch off services for Nyepi, a Hindu holiday also known as the Day of Silence, which is a sacred day for reflection.
The shutdown isn’t total, though. Internet access will still be available at places like hotels, and security, aviation, and disaster agencies. Hospitals will still have connectivity as well. The Indonesian Internet Service Provider Association is still considering whether or not to also shut down home internet connections. The internet shutdown for Nyepi will be a first in the Indonesian island’s history, and it’s notable because Indonesia has one of the most prolific populations when it comes to internet use.
Around 132.7 million people are connected to the web in Indonesia, according to Statista, and 28.8 percent of the Indonesian population accessed the internet from their mobile phones in 2017. “Many Hindu people are addicted to gadgets,” Indonesian Hinduism Society head Gusti Ngurah Sudiana told the BBC. “I hope during Nyepi they can be introspective.”
As part of the day, Balinese Hindus avoid work, travel, and entertainment, and the internet shutdown is a mark of respect. Civil and religious groups put forward the request for the internet shutdown on Nyepi. The Indonesian government denied the same request last year but said the mobile internet ban will be the norm from now on.