back to article Egypt switches off the internet

The Egyptian government is restricting internet access and mobile phone coverage ahead of what are expected to be the week's largest demonstrations later today. As this blogpost from Renesys notes the website for the Egyptian Stock Exchange might be available, but little else is. European-Asian fibre-optics appear unaffected …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Andy Mac

    Lets book a holiday!

    At least that's what the Thompson ad preceding this article wants me to do.

    1. A. Lewis


      Oh yeah!

      I could get an apartment in Cairo! I bet if I called now they'd knock the price down a bit. ;)

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge

        @A. Lewis

        There's a good chance the apartment itself would be knocked down a bit too.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Before you all rush in...

    This mobile communications being cut happens in the UK too, probably more often than you'd think, it's usually small areas where there are specific reasons, high profile prisoner convoys, VIPs etc. The only time that I've actually seen it happen was 7/7, I worked in an office near Aldgate Tube and there was no mobile at all, all day.

    1. Andrew Woodvine


      Mobile comms have been restricted once in the UK and that was on 7/7 as you say when ACCOLC was invoked. They only reason they are restricted is to give priority to certain pre-authorised users (emergency services, MPs, etc) in the case of an emergency situation when they may otherwise be unable to make/receive calls due to congestion. Networks don't get restricted because a prisoner is being moved or there is a VIP in town!

      1. Anonymous Coward

        The title is required

        <quote>Networks don't get restricted because a prisoner is being moved or there is a VIP in town!</quote>

        The M4 gets closed for VIPs. I have seen first hand hordes of motorcycle police barricading on-ramps to let Range Rovers whizz by.

      2. JaitcH

        Networks don't get restricted because ... there is a VIP in town! Oh, yes??

        Next time Obama, or whomever makes his home temporarily at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, comes to London try making any radio communication as his (her) entourage passes by.

        The only communications that will work are Plod frequencies and other essential services.

      3. Daniel B.

        Radio signals jammming

        Hillary's visit to the State of Guanajuato this week incurred the wrath of a quite large number of people who were affected by the cell jammers. And that was only Hillary; if Obama were to come over here, I'd expect my handset to suddenly go into "NO SERVICE" mode.

    2. Anonymous Coward


      Unless, for some strange reason, there were so many people using attempting to use their phones on 7/7 in that area that the system couldn't handle the traffic.

      In which case you'd expect one of the butts of El Reg's & their readership (radio amateurs) to be involved in preparations should there be a civil disaster and other forms of communication fail. I would also imagine they'd pick, if they were British, a name like 'Raynet'. Mercans would probably use a name like RACES.

      1. ao7

        network unavailable reason?

        How come we don't *know* the answer to this rather than making educated guesses?

        Like many people, I was near King's Cross when it was being evacuated and tried using my mobile to tell work I was going to be late, but couldn't.

        I think I'd be understanding if the network was overloaded by freakishly high demand or the emergency services took priority, but I'd like to know.

        1. Tempest

          It's all to do with your Class of Service

          Modern public communications all use Class of Service.

          If you are pooh-bah who has serious connections to government your COS will be upped. Ditto with doctors, etc.

          Ordinary grunts usually get the lowest COS and effectively locked out as the carriers reduce the facilities available to the lower COS.

          Same with landlines.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    De Nile of Service?

    .... sorry, had to.

    1. zen1

      re:de nile

      I don't think I would have respected you anymore had you NOT snuck that one in there! Conversely, coffee all over shirt & keyboard. Thanks fucker! Cheers!

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Crazy craziness.

    A friend of mine lives in Cairo, and his FB page has become an interesting and scary diary of what's happening over there (those with the wherewithal to use proxies can still get access) . It certainly sounds like the country was ripe for revolution, and in his words: it's telling that most people in other countries didn't know about it until the last week. It's a shame the ordinary people who are just trying to get on with their lives are suffering because of it.

    1. Brian Morrison

      The real reason for this.... that the Western media don't report very often on the true situation inside these countries because a) it might scare the horses and b) it's harder than putting some reporter outside No 10 and talking about what the "Coalition government" has been up to that day.

      Like many middle-eastern countries, the people in charge do not share the same views and aspirations as those they rule, and you can only keep the lid on a saucepan that's boiling over for so long. The problem for the West is that once the pro-western rulers have been overcome, it becomes significantly more difficult to keep oil prices low and to maintain intelligence links to get warning of any anti-western activity.

      But it's about time that some democracy broke out, you just need to hope that having thrown off once set of despotic rulers that they are not replaced by religious governments who will be equally repressive.

      1. Goat Jam


        "Like many middle-eastern countries, the people in charge do not share the same views and aspirations as those they rule"

        Are you suggesting that the people in charge of our touchy feely western democracies do?

  5. Ubuntu Is a Better Slide Rule

    What's The Reaction of the "Free World" ??

    Nothing of course, as Mr Mubarak busily sucks their balls while his opponents rot in jail.

    Did I mention Chinese opression ?? I am sure Mrs Clinton has an update on that.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Big Brother

      "Too Big To Fail"

      Her Imperial Cluelessness hasn't been her of yet. Let the Imperial Vice President speak:

      Asked if he would characterize Mubarak as a dictator Biden responded: “Mubarak has been an ally of ours in a number of things. And he’s been very responsible on, relative to geopolitical interest in the region, the Middle East peace efforts; the actions Egypt has taken relative to normalizing relationship with – with Israel. … I would not refer to him as a dictator.”

      (...) Mr. Biden's comments are unlikely to be well-received by regime opponents, as they fit a narrative of steadfast US support for a government they want to bring down. About eight protesters and one policeman have died this week as Egypt has sought to bring down the heavy hand of the state against opponents. Since the US provides about $1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt a year, the repressive apparatus of the state is seen by many in Egypt as hand in glove with the US.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        And when he does fail

        I wonder how the opposition groups then in power will regard the steadfast support of the previous regime?

      2. Goat Jam

        Joe Biden

        Does he even know what the word "dictator" means I wonder?

        "“Mubarak has been an ally of ours in a number of things. And he’s been very responsible on, relative to geopolitical interest in the region, the Middle East peace efforts; the actions Egypt has taken relative to normalizing relationship with – with Israel. … I would not refer to him as a dictator.”

        It certainly has nothing to do with any of the things Joe appears to think prove he is not one.

    2. Woodgar

      Re:What's The Reaction of the "Free World" ??

      Tony Blair was on the Today Programme this morning saying we should all support Mubarak as he's an important player in keeping neighbouring countries stable.

      When asked by the interviewer if Blair was suggesting that the local populace should just shut up and put up with it so that we in the West have an easier time of it, he started on with his usual arrogant, self-righteous smugness.

  6. Bernard M. Orwell

    Oh Egypt....

    You can't silence the people forever you know...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Smart Village in Egypt

    Actually, our org. has teams based in Smart Village in Egypt, and they still have access. Maybe they share a connection with the Egyptian stock exchange, which has been kept online...?

  8. Tony S


    Egypt was a great place for a holiday - went there about 10 years ago. The Egyptian people are a generous and welcoming nation, certainly far more so than some other countries; I would go again any time.

    Most of the population are vegetarians - not by choice, they just can't afford to buy meat as it is so expensive. They see tourists (like me) eating in one sitting, more meat or fish than they could afford in a month; no wonder they are not happy. Even more so when they see people eat half of a burger and throw the rest away, or send back a piece of fish because it is not cooked quite the way they want.

    As another example, I got the minibus driver to drop me off at the airport, rather than wait for a taxi. I gave him 15 Egyptian pounds (then it was about £3) this doubled his wages for the week.

    Sometimes, we don't realise how lucky we are.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    did someone in the USofA suggest...

    ... that the President should have a similar kill-the-internet switch? Only to be used in case of a national crisis!

    any way, if the internet is turned-off in Egypt, doesn't this mean that Today marks the 1st time in history that a country have turned off its own* internet in fear of the internet and the freedom it brings? (don't real watch the news much, but I never heard of such an action being taken before).

    * this is different from a country losing internet access due to an accident. I am currently living in Tanzania, and the country did go offline few times due to an accident.

    1. longbeast
      Black Helicopters

      Not the first.

      Burma/Myanmar did it back in 2007, when their own local proto-rebellion was being beaten down by the military, and too many photos of the violence were getting out that might have embarrassed the government.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Pure Genius or Epic Fail

    How to alienate a whole population, and motivate young people to turn out on the streets.

    While simultaneously failing.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      When you in a hole, stop digging.

      Applies just as much to the US as it does to Egypt.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      When you're in a hole, stop digging.

      Applies just as much to the US as it does to Egypt.

  11. Big Al
    Thumb Up

    Sense of perspective

    "Big protests are expected across the country after Friday prayers - still the most important social network in the country""

    Excellent point, well made.

  12. Not a Happy Bunny

    T-Mobile must think we're in Egypt

    And cut of Blackberry access. Cant get the bloody things working. For the last week!. Some network problems apparently

  13. Rodrigo Valenzuela

    Not the only way

    Maybe we are just too lazy or to spoiled by internet services or mobile phones and tend to think that people will not find a way to express themselves.

    But that is obviously a mistake. May be communications will be a bit more cumbersome or slow, but that will not stop people from protesting. And trying to silence media is always a sign that the government does not have very good intentions.

    Protests that topple governments will always happen, internet or not.

    If Mr. Mubarak is so sure to be in the "right" side of things, this attempt to silence his own people surely probes otherwise.


  14. Anonymous Coward


    Along with the Uganda ( Gov advocating executing homosexuals ) and Tunisia episodes, will the US charge in to ensure freedom of speech and democracy for all just like Iraq and Afghanistan?

    They might if they can find enough natural resources like oil and shiny stones, to make it worthwhile I suppose

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Apologies - Your service has been cut

    Please listen to this relaxing patriotic music instead...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Translating Joe Biden

    Translating Joe Biden:

    "Yes, Mubarak IS a dictator, but he is OUR dictator, so thats OK."

    Reminds me of how the West felt about that Saddam chappie, in the years before Kuwait.

  17. JaitcH

    This is why governments LOVE cell communications!

    When you consider cell telephones amongst all the other paraphernalia that crosses international borders they are rarely the subject of intense interest - unless the carrier is flagged.

    Governments have total control of cell services which have limited distance communications, are subject to network control, provide positive identification and pretty accurate location.

    There are very few governments that deny cell service as a policy, Burma comes to mind, as the benefits that accrue to authorities are as great as those for cell subscribers.

    The recent world-wide crackdown on pre-paid SIM cards was an attempt to tighten up one weakness but I find any bell hop will be happy to procure a SIM card in his name for you to use! Cambodia forbids foreigners to purchase SIM cards but most every traveller has one.

    The best portable phones are the satellite ones but the dorky antennae are a dead give away to any border post personnel and are outright banned because local governments have no control of their use.

    1. Ubuntu Is a Better Slide Rule

      @JaitcH: Solution To Thwart Cellphone Tracking:

      A) Buy a cheap cellphone

      B) buy a cheap, registered and prepaid SIM card

      C) use for a day

      D) swap with somebody else

      E) reload SIM card account

      Note: Phones can be tracked,too.

      Leave your number on a protected weblog for all your friends as soon as your Phone Number has changed.

  18. John Savard Silver badge


    In Sri Lanka, the government first expelled all foreign reporters, and then their troops began massacres of the minority Tamil people.

    The U.S., therefore, should not make the same mistake twice. While it seems that the government is concerned about the protesters, and that the protesters are seeking liberalization of Egypt, and are not Islamists, there are Coptic Christians in Egypt who have suffered persecution in the past.

    So, the United States should respond to the Internet blackout with an immediate invasion of Egypt, to bring about regime change, and to guarantee and ensure the safety of the Coptic Christian minority.

    The most effective way to guarantee the safety of a minority is to empower the minority to defend itself, as the relative safety of the Jews of Israel, compared to the continuous attacks on religious minorities in Iraq, demonstrates. So Egypt should be partitioned.

  19. Rippy

    Once Again, The Register's Prescience is Confirmed

    and Hosni Mubarak is clearly a visionary leader. He's just showing that "meatspace rules rule" and moving his country to the "closed network" that El Reg's Bill Thompson advocated in his great polemic of 2002:

  20. Richard Porter

    There's nothing like

    forcing people out onto the street if they want to communicate.

  21. Richard Porter

    Re: De Nile of Service

    well it's better than Suez-side bombers

  22. Buzzby

    Translating Joe Biden v2.0

    We used to call them banana republics because so many were in central/south america.

    1. Britt Johnston


      Wrong continent: try searching in the date forums

  23. Anonymous Coward


    ...if Egypt have switched off their bit of the internet, does that mean we can nick back all their IPv4 addresses in order to find another excuse to prolong the delay in switching the world+dog to IPv6?

    Or do you think they'll want them back again after the revolution?

    1. Kibble

      @ AC 29th January 2011 00:25

      A very interesting thought. They might want'em back. However, it might be just the thing to force Egypt to upgrade to IPv6 ahead of every other country, thus causing the rest of the world to upgrade that much more quickly.

  24. Steen Hive
    Black Helicopters

    The most interesting

    Thing here is the contrast in the talking-heads reaction to this and pathetic wailing and gnashing of teeth in reaction to the rather similar situation in Iran.

    Certainly very enlightening as to what our representatives /really/ think about popular uprisings.

  25. Adam White

    Who needs the Internet?

    If it's all TV stations buying coupon aggregators or some similar BS, maybe they're better off without it.

  26. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  27. Anonymous Coward

    Front seats in History




This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020