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Tuesday, 01 February 2011 11:37

Egypt internet still down, phone services partially restored

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Connection reset by Mubarak
Egypt is now officially offline. The government clampdown has now even resulted in the closure of Egypt's Noor Group ISP.

Although thousands of ISPs were cut off last week, Noor Group continued to operate until today. In fact, Noor Group provided internet connectivity for major institutions, media, banks and five-star hotels. According to CNN, authorities have even shut down the country's railway system.

However, Vodafone and France Telecom managed to restore their mobile phone networks in Egypt on Monday. Although the extent of the phone blackout is still unclear, information is slowly starting to trickle out of the beleaguered land of the pharaohs.

Google and Twitter are now offering a new service allowing Egyptian users to post their messages by leaving a voicemail on a specific number. Google will use speech-to-text recognition to translate the messages and send them out on Twitter.

The communications blackout is obviously having a crippling effect on Egypt's economy, or what's left of it, since very few businesses are open due to the popular revolt. It is not every day that we see a country of 80 million all but closed for business.

Although most western powers are still silently backing the Mubarak regime, it would be interesting to see how westerners would respond to such measures in their own back yard. Also, in yet another act of untold hypocrisy, the Iranian regime has publicly offered its support for the protesters. All things considered, Cairo's Thahir Square appears to be the last bastion of democracy, both in the east and west.

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