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EGYPT: Foreign telecommunications companies stepping in to connect protesters to Internet

January 31, 2011 |  9:11 am

Foreign telecommunications companies are helping to provide Egyptians with Internet access over fixed phone lines after the Cairo government's shutdown of online and cellular services.

French Data Network of Paris announced on its website Monday that it had activated old and little-used dial-up options for those cut off from their usual mobile networks. The Egyptian government has shut down most of the country's Internet access in an attempt to thwart coordination of protests against the authoritarian regime of President Hosni Mubarak.

The Geneva-based Internet Society estimates that at least 90%  of Internet networks in Egypt are out of service.

Some foreign mobile phone service providers, including Vodafone Group and France Telecom, have restored coverage after initially complying with Cairo government orders to suspend service.

Also, the two Egyptian Internet sites used most often by the opposition Muslim Brotherhood, Ikhwanonline and Egypt Window, were being updated regularly, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported.

Despite the official attempts at isolating the protesters, demonstrations have been mounting and leaders of the coalescing opposition have managed to get the word out that a million-man rally is planned for Cairo on Tuesday.

Google's Wael Ghonim reported missing in Egypt

Beijing authorities blocks Internet searches for 'Egypt'

As protests continue, Al Jazeera's role debated

Egypt Internet, social media users find some relief, Cairo blogger says

-- Carol J. Williams

Photo: A protester takes a picture with his cell phone in Tahrir Square, Cairo. Credit: Ben Curtis / Associated Press.