The internet has become an essential tool of the modern world, allowing people to communicate with one another, access information and share experiences like never before.
In fact access to the internet is now seen as so important that some politicians believe it is a fundamental right that should be available to all, not a privilege.
So given the significance that is placed on internet access today, what would happen if it was suddenly taken away? How would the world function, from the level of business and government organisation right down to the individual on the street?
One of the key criticisms of the government’s current strategy relating to the rollout of broadband internet access is that it is too reliant on the idea that the majority of public services can be shifted to the internet without having an impact on those without access. So if the internet was universally eradicated, small scale chaos would ensue in the short term.
Today people can do everything from register to vote to filing their tax returns online. And by automating critical services, the government is saving money. So returning to an age in which everything has to be done in person or by the post would be an immense burden.
Of course on the plus side the threats posed by cyberterrorism would evaporate with the death of the internet. Although many believe that these threats are either being overstated, or could be the ultimate cause of any major outage as posed hypothetically above.
Businesses would face much the same problem as governments, because even if they are not directly reliant on the internet for front-facing engagement with customers, many internal systems are now hosted on the cloud rather than installed remotely. Manufacturing lines would shut down, the financial sector would freeze and no doubt the economy would go into freefall.
Even SEO services offered by firms like http://digi-tel.co.uk/would be unnecessary because consumers could not harness Google and its ilk to look for products and businesses.
Street level impact
For people going about their everyday lives, whether in school, at work or during leisure activities, the internet provides endless opportunities. Social networking sites, navigation services and unending information resources have helped to enhance the quality of life globally.
Strip these away by taking the internet out of the equation and people would be in a real pickle. We have become so accustomed to relying on computers, tablets and smartphones to look up important data and get from A to B that this would be a real shock to the system.
Some argue that smartphones are even damaging our ability to retain information because they render the need to hold onto facts for protracted periods obsolete. Although internet-enabled portable devices have only been around for a relatively short period of time, if they were rendered useless then for many it would feel like going back to the stone age, which is why keeping the internet intact is so critical.