Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Phones, internet to shut down for Bali Hindu holiday

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Herman Weaver | 17 March, 2018, 12:43

Nyepi, or Day of Silence, is a Hindu new year celebrated on the island of Bali.

Mobile internet providers have been asked to shut down service, except for essential public services.

It means there will be an nearly total 24-hour blackout - hospitals and vital services are exempt - for the annual celebration, which this year falls on March 17 in the tourist hotspot.

Streets and beaches have emptied except for special patrols tasked with ensuring that silence is observed on a day of reflection that is the most sacred in Balinese Hinduism.

Bali will be turning off all mobile internet connections during the upcoming Nyepi celebrations.

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.

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In a statement, the communications ministry said religious leaders in Bali had appealed for a 24-hour internet blackout from 6am on Saturday.

"We don't want any WhatsApp, Line, Google or mobile phone services operating during Nyepi because they are a disturbance", Sudiana told ucanews.com on March 13.

Such spots including hospitals, banks, and certain public places will be running, said Merza Fachys, president director of Smartfren, another service provider. This is seen as a sacred day where even worldwide airports shut down to mark the event.

Balinese Hindus observe four "prohibitions" - no fire, no travel, no activity and no entertainment.

Voice calling and SMS services will still work and if you are staying in a hotel, you may still have access to WiFi but for Bali's 132 million internet users, this will be a day of digital detox.

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