Babylon & Beyond

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EGYPT: Again, Internet almost dead for a day

December 22, 2008 |  8:33 am


“Do you have access to the Internet?” Egyptians kept asking one another all through Friday. The answer was the same everywhere: “No access at all.”

Internet service collapsed after six undersea cables linking the Middle East and Europe were damaged last weekend.  Since then, the government has been trying to repair the cables. The service has been back up since Sunday but not at full capacity. The government said that the service improved by 85% on Sunday.

The Egyptian Ministry of Communications announced that it diverted the Internet traffic to other service providers through cables in the Indian Ocean. It is still not very clear what led to the damage. The ministry has been calling on people to ration their Internet use until service gets back to normal. 

Egypt had a similar problem in January. Undersea cables were also damaged,  leading to outages in the Middle East and India.

Apparently, the latest outage did not lead to serious repercussions as it happened on a non-workday. However, it prompted a lot of concern as it showed the vulnerability of the Internet service in Egypt.

The repair work is expected to take several days.

— Noha El-Hennawy in Cairo

Photo: An empty Internet cafe in Cairo during the service outage. Credit: Associated Press