Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

The Internet Is Back to Normal in Egypt; the Country, Not So Much

About three hours ago, Egypt began repairing the pothole it had created on the information superhighway. The Internet research firm Renesys, which has been doing the yeoman’s work of watching the ups and downs of Internet connections in that country, reported that at about 0930 UTC, or about 4:30 am ET, several Web sites in Egypt, including the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and the Egyptian Stock Exchange, were reachable once again. And all the major ISPs have announced they’re available to the rest of the Internet. The graph above (click to zoom) shows how traffic to Egyptian networks ramped up over the course of about 20 minutes.

The restoration of communications comes a day after President Hosni Mubarak announced that he would not seek another term as president in the forthcoming September election. Though that seems not to have satisfied the protesters who are eager that he step down right away.

Messages on @Speak2Tweet, the Twitter account created by Google and Twitter, have grown to 1,197 overnight, though with the Internet returning to normal that may stop.

The Internet may be returning to something resembling normal, but it’s clear that Egypt itself has quite a ways to go. I heard again this morning from my friend Abdalla in Cairo via text message. He wrote:

I am close to Tahrir Square. Pro-Mubarak rallies are taking place. They are not huge crowds but many of them are complete thugs. Thank goodness I got out of there with my camera in one piece. I am seeking refuge in a hotel lobby for now. I talked to a video journalist here who had his camera spray painted by someone in the crowd. Today is going to be a really ugly day :(