Egypt emerges from internet blackout

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Egypt is back on the internet, after a five-day shut-down linked to unrest in the country.

At about 11.30 local time, the country's major ISPs came back online. According to local users, 3G mobile and Blackberry services and even Twitter and Facebook are now available again, although there seems to be some instability with these services.

There's speculation that the government has allowed service to resume in order to help it in its calls for protesters to return to their homes. More than a quarter of a million people are believed to have taken part in protests in Cairo yesterday. President Hosni Mubarak has finally agreed to step down after elections later this year, ending 29 years in power.

According to internet analysis irm Renesys, most providers are now back in action.

"All major Egyptian ISPs appear to have readvertised routes to their domestic customer networks in the global routing table," says the firm's James Cowie.

The new table looks a lot smaller than before, he says, but that's mainly because of the deletion of very small, specific customer routes that are partially or totally redundant.

"That's to be expected: the Egyptian table had gotten pretty dense with redundancy in the week leading up to the takedown, and it's been cleaned up in the process of being brought back," he says. "A few larger network blocks belonging to the Egyptian Universities Network (AS2561) are still missing."