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'Blocking the Internet cost Egypt $90 million'

By Bno

CAIRO: The Egyptian government's blocking of Internet services for five days is likely to have cost the country around $90 million, according to preliminary estimates by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

OECD spokesperson Spencer Wilson said the blocked services, telecommunication and the Internet, account for roughly 3 to 4 percent of Egypt's GDP, or a loss of $18 million per day.

The long-term impact could be greater, the OECD warns, as it has cut off domestic and international high-tech firms who provide services globally and will make it much more difficult in the future to attract foreign companies and assure them that the networks will remain reliable.

To date, attracting such firms has been a key strategy of the government.

Egypt plunged into chaos last week when hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in Cairo and other major cities to demand the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak. Some of them clashed with security forces, killing at least 150 people and injuring more than 4,000 others.

In an effort to crack down on the protests, the Egyptian government basically shut down the Internet in the country and restricted access to other services such as mobile phone networks.


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