[QODLink]
Middle East
Total internet blackout in Egypt
Country's last working internet service provider has been disconnected, completing a complete shut down of web access.
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2011 01:56 GMT
Egyptian protests are set to continue without the help of the internet [Gallo/Getty]

Egypt's last working internet service provider, the Noor Group, has been disconnected, a US Web monitoring company said, leaving the crisis-torn country completely offline.

Renesys, a New Hampshire-based firm that monitors internet routing data in real time, said on Monday that the Noor network "started disappearing from the Internet" around 20h46 GMT.

"They are completely unavailable at present," Renesys vice president and general manager Earl Zmijewski said in a blog post.

Attempts by the AFP news agency to access noor.net and other websites in Egypt serviced by
the company, such as the Egyptian stock exchange site at egyptse.com, were unsuccessful.

Egypt's four main internet service providers - Link Egypt, Vodafone/Raya, Telecom Egypt and Etisalat Misr - cut off international access to their customers on Thursday.

The move left the Noor Group as the only working Internet provider in the country rocked by days of protests against President Hosni Mubarak.

Mobile telephone networks have also been severely disrupted in Egypt along with the Internet.

Activists have used mobile phones and the internet to organise the most serious anti-government demonstrations in decades, protests inspired by the uprising in Tunisia.

Innovation

Google, in response to the Internet blockade in Egypt, said on Monday that it had created a way to post messages to microblogging service Twitter by making telephone calls.

Google worked with Twitter and freshly acquired SayNow, a startup specialising in social online voice platforms, to make it possible for anyone to "tweet" by leaving a message at any of three telephone numbers.

"Like many people we've been glued to the news unfolding in Egypt and thinking of what we could do to help people on the ground," Google product manager Abdel-Karim Mardini and SayNow co-founder Ujjwal Singh said in a blog post.

"Over the weekend we came up with the idea of a speak-to-tweet service - the ability for anyone to tweet using just a voice connection," they said.

Voice mail messages left at +16504194196; +390662207294 or +97316199855 will instantly be converted into text messages, referred to as tweets, and posted at Twitter with an identifying "hashtag" of #egypt.

Twitter hashtags are intended as search terms so people can more easily find comments related to particular topics or events.

People can call the same numbers to listen to messages or hear them online at twitter.com/speak2tweet.

"We hope that this will go some way to helping people in Egypt stay connected at this very difficult time," said Singh and Mardini. "Our thoughts are with everyone there."

Google, meanwhile, declined to comment on reports that one of its Egypt-based marketing executives, Wael Ghonim, has been missing since late Friday.

"We care deeply about the safety of our employees, but to protect their privacy, we don't comment on them individually," a spokesman for the California Internet giant said in an email response to an AFP inquiry.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
The conservative UMP party suffers from crippling internal divisions and extreme debt from mismanagement.
More than fifty years of an armed struggle for independence from Spain might be coming to an end in the Basque Country.
After the shooting-down of flight MH17, relatives ask what the carrier has learned from still-missing MH370.
Human rights and corporate responsibility prompt a US church to divest from companies doing business with Israel.
Afghan militias have accumulated a lengthy record of human-rights abuses, including murders and rapes.
join our mailing list