Egyptian government restores Internet after five-day blackout

By on February 2, 2011, 10:17 AM
Egyptian Internet Service Providers (ISPs) returned to the Internet at 11:29am Cairo time, readvertising routes to their domestic customer networks in the global routing table. Noor Group, the last ISP to disconnect its users from the Web, was the last to return online with a full complement of prefixes as of 12:52pm Cairo time. The ISP therefore had the shortest downtime, given that it was only unavailable between Monday and Wednesday, according to Renesys.

For the rest of Egypt, the Internet outage lasted five days. Websites such as the Egyptian Stock Exchange, Commercial International Bank of Egypt, MCDR, and the US Embassy in Cairo, are once again reachable. As of 15:36 Cairo time, Facebook and Twitter are once again available inside Egypt; there are no traffic blocks in place, DNS answers are clean, and IP addresses match.

The Egyptian government's goal was to kill all media coverage of the huge protests challenging President Hosni Mubarak's three decade long rule. Yesterday, Mubarak announced he would not run in the next election, though he said that was his plan all along. He still expects to remain in power until then.

The Internet blackout in Egypt started with Twitter being blocked, then Facebook stopped working, and finally the Internet was cut off completely. The reaction around the world was huge: demonstrators showed their support for Egyptians from all over. Google, Twitter and SayNow developed a "speak-to-tweet" service that let anyone send messages over Twitter without an Internet connection. YouTube started highlighting Egyptian protest footage. Even China noticed, and began censoring the word "Egypt" on the Internet.

Service to the World Wide Web may have been restored in the country but somehow, we don't think the protests are over quite just yet.


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