After five days, Egypt is partially back online: According to multiple sources, Web access works in the capital Cairo as well as in Alexandria. Obviously, Twitter and social networks are still blocked and can only be used with workarounds.
After Tuesday’s mass protests, Internet access in Egypt has been partially restored on Wednesday February 2. It is still unclear whether the government is responsible for this – or whether the providers reactivated it based on their own decision. In Cairo, web access worked via an Egyptian server, as AFP reporters reported. The Reuters news agency talks about functioning web access in Alexandria, too.
The first websites to be accessible again from outside were the biggest providers in Egypt, namely Vodafone Egypt and Etisalat. Shortly after these, the websites of Orascom Telecom and the Egyptian stock exchange went online as well.
Husni Mubarak’s regime had locked out Internet access at around 10:34pm last Thursday for around 85 million Egyptian citizens, in order to prevent mass protests. At the same time, the connections wiring Egypt to the Internet had been blocked.
Even previously, websites like Twitter, Facebook and Google’s e-mail service Gmail had not been accessible. This is obviously still the case: According to multiple reports, services like Twitter only work when being used via proxy servers. Additionally, Google set up a service taking Twitter messages by phone. To make use, the message has to be spoken as voice mail to the international phone numbers +1.650.419.41966 or +39 06 2.207.294 or +97.316.199.855. The messages are then instantly published on Twitter using the “egypt” hashtag. They can be received via the same phone numbers or listened to via twitter.com/speak2tweet. According to Google’s announcement, the service has been created by a small expert group of Twitter, Google and SayNow, a company that has been bought by Google last week.