Internet services partially restored in Cairo

Egypt’s four main Internet service providers cut off access to their customers in a near simultaneous move overnight last Thursday, two days after anti-Mubarak protests — many coordinated via the Internet –began.

Social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook have become increasingly important for protest organisers, with only a tiny number of users in the Egyptian capital able to access the Internet since Friday.

Internet on mobile telephones was also cut, while mobile voice and text services were also severely disrupted.

Around 23 million Egyptians have either regular or occasional access to the Internet, according to official figures, more than a quarter of the population.

The shutdown in Egypt was the most comprehensive official electronic blackout of its kind, experts said.

On Wednesday, Internet users celebrated the return of access, including estr4ng3d on Twitter: “Tweeting from the middle of Tahrir Sq. – internet is back in #Egypt #jan25.”

Cairo’s Tahrir Square is the epicentre of protests against Mubarak’s regime, in which over 300 people have died. The army called Wednesday for protesters to go home in order to restore security.

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Internet services partially restored in Cairo