Although protests and violence continue in Egypt, internet service and access to social networks like Facebook and Twitter has been restored after a five-day outage.
Egyptian government authorities blocked internet service with the intention of quieting the protests, but the move appears to have had little effect. Other countries who have attempted to quell protests typically have only blocked access to social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook, but Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the primary target of the demonstrators, took the country entirely offline, effectively shutting down an entire segment of the worldwide digital communications grid.
BGP monitoring group founder Andree Toonk told Datamation.com: ” Egypt has been offline for five days. This is truly unprecedented in these modern days. It’s been interesting to see how alternative ways of electronic communications have been used and how ad hoc Internet connections have been made available.”
Internet service providers brought service back up one by one on the morning of February 2, 2011. By 11:30 local time, only one internet service provider had not restored service. Access to Facebook and Twitter had been restored by early afternoon.
In the meantime, the situation in Cairo has escalated, resulting in one dead and over 600 people injured. After international leaders pressured Mubarak to announce that he would not seek re-election in September, his supporters swarmed the streets and clashed with protesters. CNN reports that at least some of Mubarak’s supporters were paid to jump into the fray, although others appear to be genuine.