Egypt's Last Functioning ISP Goes Offline – Mobile Phone Networks Going Next


It was only a matter of time. Yesterday, I wrote about Noor, the last Egyptian ISP that was still working, despite the government ordering all other Internet service providers to shut down. Now, Egypt’s last conduit to the Internet has been shut down as well.

Chances are that the Noor group, which has about an 8% market share in Egypt, was allowed to keep operating as it provides services to major national and international corporations, including the Egyptian stock exchange in Cairo, Coca-Cola and Pfizer.

Yesterday, I wondered why Noor couldn’t keep these clients online while shutting down service to rest of its domestic subscribers. There are unconfirmed reports that this is exactly what Noor did. It seems more likely, though, that these services are now offline, as the site of the Egyptian Stock Exchange is now unreachable, too.

Here is a graph of the Noor Groups connectivity, courtesy of Earl Zmijewski from Renesys, which confirms the shutdown:

Egypt_s Net on Life Support - Renesys Blog (Build 20110121161344).jpg

Mobile Phone Networks Going Down Next

Egypt’s information ministry also just confirmed the shutdown of the Noor network. The ministry also told CNN a little while ago that the government plans to take all mobile phone networks in the country offline ahead of a major protest march planned for Tuesday.

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Why One Egyptian ISP is Still Online (Updated)


For all intents and purposes, Egypt is currently cut off from the Internet. Even today, though, the Noor Group’s DSL service in Egypt remains available (though it experienced some downtime earlier today). Why is Noor, which has about an 8% market share in Egypt, allowed to continue to operate while the rest of the country’s ISPs went dark days ago?

While it would be nice to be able to write a story about how one ISP defied the government’s orders in Egypt to provide its users with an essential service, the reality seems to be far more mundane.

[notification type=”standard”] Update (Monday 3:00pm PT): According to the latest reports, the Noor networks is now also offline and the government plans to shut down all mobile phone networks as well. [/notification]

According to France’s Le Monde, Noor provides essential services to the Egyptian stock exchange in Cairo. Thanks to this, the stock exchange’s site is one of the few Egyptian sites still available online. In addition, Le Monde also writes, Noor provides services to large multi-national corporations, including Coca-Cola, Pfizer and Exxon Mobile. Domestically, Noor also provides network services to Egypt Air. Because of this, Noor is likely considered to be an important economic asset and will probably continue operating throughout this crisis. We have to wonder, though, why the company wasn’t able to keep these business services up and running and cut its regular subscribers off at the same time.

Noor’s own website makes absolutely no mention of the current unrest in the country. Instead, the site’s news ticker proudly announces the network’s support for IPv6 and the availability of Linux hosting services.


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