Shutting down mobile internet has become the first step for governments across India whenever there is some kind of violence or even during any major examination. It sounds weird, but in India, the government without any warning can actually shut down mobile internet for millions of people to prevent a few thousands from cheating during any major examination for government jobs. Be it elections, exams, incidents of violence or any other reason, mobile internet shutdown can happen anytime in India and in any city. The common man nowadays has little say in questioning the methods used by governments but the least they can do is stay prepared.
While governments may argue that cutting down mobile internet is a way to prevent any incident from escalating, the reality is there are millions of other citizens who have barely anything to do with any such ‘incidents’. With the massive push towards Digital India, there’s no denying that life becomes difficult if your smartphone suddenly goes offline.
Here are some things that you should consider to be prepared in case there’s a sudden internet blackout in your region.
Always carry sufficient cash
No matter how many mobile wallets you use or you may believe in completely relying on UPI but when there’s no internet, cash rules. Always keep some amount of cash in your home and carry sufficient cash in your wallet. If you are travelling, it goes without saying that every member of the travel group must carry sufficient cash for their own expenses. Keeping reserve cash at hand is always a good idea which you can use only when digital payments fail. Remember, during times of crisis, the government can stop UPI payments as well including the *99# service.
Keep physical copies of documents, tickets, hotel bookings, etc if you are travelling
Keep photos or scan copies of all documents on your smartphone so that it can be accessed without the internet. Don’t rely on Google Drive or Photos always, keep separate backups of important personal data on your smartphone in a secured folder. Also, while travelling, make sure you have photos, screenshots as well physical printouts of documents, tickets, hotel bookings, etc.
While travelling, make sure you have photos, screenshots as well physical printouts of documents, tickets, hotel bookings, etc.
Download offline maps on Google Maps
Download offline maps on Google Maps of your state or the region of your residence. Also, when you are travelling, always download the maps of the place where you intend to visit before stepping out. Offline maps can be saviour when 4G internet is not available or when there’s an internet blackout.
Always have sufficient balance for calls and SMSes
With combo packs offering unlimited calls, data and SMS people tend to forget to recharge their mobile accounts with sufficient cash balance. Keeping sufficient balance for calls and SMSes is important if 4G connectivity is taken down and you have to rely on 2G to communicate.
Keeping sufficient balance for calls and SMSes is important if 4G connectivity is taken down and you have to rely on 2G to communicate.
Get a broadband connection for your home
Most of the time the government shuts down mobile internet and broadband connections are spared. It may be a good idea to get a broadband connection at home to save yourself the hassles during an internet shutdown. Broadband plans are cheap nowadays and you can help more people connect to the internet in times of need. Also, it is a bad idea to rely on mobile internet on a daily basis if your work requires you to stay connected always.
It is a bad idea to rely on mobile internet on a daily basis if your work requires you to stay connected always.
Get back to downloading movies and songs from the internet
During the age of 2G, we used to happily download songs, movies, games and other content on our hard drives. Apps like Spotify, Netflix and others have ruined this habit and these apps now have greater control over the content you consume. It may be a good idea to manually download content from the internet like the old times to stay prepared for tough situations.
It may be a good idea to manually download content from the internet like the old times to stay prepared for tough situations.
Get a paid and reliable VPN app, it may work sometimes
During partial internet shutdowns, a VPN app may help you get connected to the internet. But when there’s a complete internet shutdown, VPN apps will be of no use. Also, VPN apps help you protect your privacy and securely access the internet. There’s no harm in buying a paid and reliable VPN service.
Create your own mesh networks using apps like Bridgefy, FireChat
Heard of Bluetooth mesh networks? Yes, you can stay connected to people near you by using apps like Bridgefy, FireChat, etc. These apps let you send text messages offline by using Bluetooth. Of course, you can’t make video calls! But during natural disasters, large events or while travelling you can use these apps to send messages. Apps like Bridgefy use Bluetooth to send messages over a distance of 100 metres.
Keep an old 2G-handset handy, in case of emergencies
An old 2G handset can be a great asset in times of emergencies to stay connected over calls and SMSes. Also, the battery life of 2G handsets is way more than smartphones any day. Keep a 2G handset handy that has features like torch, FM radio, camera, MP3 and microSD card support. This is all you need to survive doomsday.
An old 2G handset can be a great asset in times of emergencies to stay connected over calls and SMSes.
If your region is prone to frequent internet shutdowns, considering getting a landline
If you are witnessing frequent disruptions in mobile internet and reception due to situations beyond your control then it may be advisable to get a landline as a long term solution. Always opt for a separate landline and not the one that comes bundled with your broadband plan. It’s better not to keep all your eggs in one basket during trying times. Also, it may be a good idea to refresh your dial-up memories!
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