Egypt Withdraws From Web, Blocks Phones After Protesters Take to Streets



Egypt, following days of anti- government protests, “withdrew” from the Internet after Egyptian authorities shut connections to the outside world.
Internet traffic in and out of the country slumped shortly after midnight Cairo time yesterday, according to Web security company Arbor Networks. Mobile-phone services run by local units of Vodafone Group Plc and France Telecom SA were also halted.
“Rather abruptly, in a coordinated fashion, all of the major Internet providers that have traffic in and out of Egypt basically withdrew from the Internet,” said Craig Labovitz, chief scientist at Arbor Networks.
National authorities shut the connections after demonstrators took to the streets, inspired by an uprising that ousted Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali on Jan. 14. Egypt has one one of the most advanced telecommunications markets in the Middle East and Africa. Local officials couldn’t be reached for comment.
Facebook Inc., owner of the world’s biggest social- networking site, is seeing “only minimal traffic from Egypt,” spokesman Andrew Noyes said in an e-mail. Google Inc., the largest search engine, said people in Egypt are unable to access Google and its YouTube video service, “or at best are having real difficulty doing so,” according to a company spokeswoman.
………….“There is virtually no Internet access in Egypt at the moment,” said Jillian York, a spokeswoman for Herdict.org, a site that monitors website accessibility, in an e-mail.
Separate international Internet networks that pass through Egypt appear to be unaffected, Arbor Networks’ Labovitz said.
Television network Al Jazeera said transmission had to be switched to another frequency as its signal on Nilesat was jammed.
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