During the heights of the protests in Egypt, the Egyptian government cut off Internet in the entire country. This led to companies like Google to offer a voice recognition service for Egyptians to share information online via the telephone. The Internet has since been turned back on but it makes one wonder, could the U.S. government do something similar?
According to International Business Times, experts have told them that it would be nearly impossible to cut off the Internet in the U.S. The fiber optic backbone of the networks throughout the U.S. are owned by several different companies, and some of those companies are owned by foreign entities. On the east coast there is an Internet exchange point called The Metropolitan Exchange and that point alone has 19 different carriers. Getting all of these companies to shut down their exchange would be very expensive.
Along with requiring a great deal of money to implement some sort of kill switch on all of the major networks, it would also cost online businesses and Wall Street a great deal of money. Trading on Wall Street relies heavily on the Internet, without it, trading would not be possible. After the attacks on September 11th, a major fiber line underground was cut and Wall Street lost Internet access. This loss of Internet access was part of the reason that trading was halted for four days after the attacks.