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Egypt gets its Internet back

After a five-day shutdown and a pledge that President Hosni Mubarak won't seek re-election, Egyptians now can use Internet services again.

Data from the European IP registry service RIPE shows the resumption of Internet access in Egypt.
Data from the European IP registry service RIPE shows the resumption of Internet access in Egypt. RIPE

Egyptian authorities have restored Internet service to the country after anti-government protests last week led to a five-day Net blackout.

"Egyptian Internet providers returned to the Internet at 09:29:31 UTC (11:29 a.m. Cairo time)," said a blog post by Net monitoring firm Renesys today.

Indeed, a variety of Egyptian Web sites, including the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, the Central Bank of Egypt, and the Egyptian Stock Exchange are available. And Twitter activity relating to Egypt is surging.

"The Internet is back in Egypt! FINALLY!" tweeted Cairo-based human rights activist Dalia Ziada today. "I have more than 500 e-mails in my inbox! Oh my God!" she added.

Egyptian Internet statistics from RIPE, the European organization that oversees Internet address allocation, showed the restoration of Egypt's Net operations as the routers that steer traffic onto Egypt's Internet announced their return to service.

Internet access was restored the day after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak pledged not to seek re-election after 30 years in power.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian army today called for an end to days of protests.

"Your message has arrived, your demands became known... you are capable of bringing normal life to Egypt," the BBC reported the army said on television.

Egypt's Net crackdown was met by creative ways around the electronic roadblocks, including a Google-Twitter voice-to-tweet system. It also raised concerns that an Internet "kill switch" in the United States raises the prospect of a similar government-initiated shutdown.