Egyptian authorities 'shut down' the Internet, suspend mobile services

CAIRO: Egyptian authorities on Friday basically 'shut down' the Internet inside the African country and suspended all mobile services, companies said, as anti-government protests continued.

Popular social networking website Facebook was among the first to report a sudden drop of Internet activity from Egypt. "We are aware of reports of disruption to service and have seen a drop in traffic from Egypt this morning," a spokeswoman said.

Many websites based in Egypt were unavailable on early Friday in what is described to be an action 'unprecedented' in Internet history. Reports said the Egyptian government had ordered Internet service providers to shut down connection to the Internet, except the Noor Group which continued to offer Internet services to its customers.

It was not immediately clear why Noor Group was not ordered to suspend their services, although some reports said the Egyptian Stock Exchange was using the Internet service provider.

Also mobile services were suspended in the wake of massive, anti-government protests. "All mobile operators in Egypt have been instructed to suspend services in selected areas," a spokesperson for Vodafone said. "Under Egyptian legislation the authorities have the right to issue such an order and we are obliged to comply with it. The Egyptian authorities will be clarifying the situation in due course."


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