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Friday, January 28, 2011

Egypt Leaves the Internet - Renesys Blog

Coat of arms of Egypt -- standard pan-Arab &qu...Image via WikipediaEgypt Leaves the Internet - Renesys Blog

By James Cowie on January 27, 2011 7:56 PM | 82 Comments | 9 TrackBacks
Confirming what a few have reported this evening: in an action unprecedented in Internet history, the Egyptian government appears to have ordered service providers to shut down all international connections to the Internet. Critical European-Asian fiber-optic routes through Egypt appear to be unaffected for now. But every Egyptian provider, every business, bank, Internet cafe, website, school, embassy, and government office that relied on the big four Egyptian ISPs for their Internet connectivity is now cut off from the rest of the world. Link Egypt, Vodafone/Raya, Telecom Egypt, Etisalat Misr, and all their customers and partners are, for the moment, off the air.

At 22:34 UTC (00:34am local time), Renesys observed the virtually simultaneous withdrawal of all routes to Egyptian networks in the Internet's global routing table. Approximately 3,500 individual BGP routes were withdrawn, leaving no valid paths by which the rest of the world could continue to exchange Internet traffic with Egypt's service providers. Virtually all of Egypt's Internet addresses are now unreachable, worldwide.

This is a completely different situation from the modest Internet manipulation that took place in Tunisia, where specific routes were blocked, or Iran, where the Internet stayed up in a rate-limited form designed to make Internet connectivity painfully slow. The Egyptian government's actions tonight have essentially wiped their country from the global map.

What happens when you disconnect a modern economy and 80,000,000 people from the Internet? What will happen tomorrow, on the streets and in the credit markets? This has never happened before, and the unknowns are piling up. We will continue to dig into the event, and will update this story as we learn more. As Friday dawns in Cairo under this unprecedented communications blackout, keep the Egyptian people in your thoughts.

Update (3:06 UTC)

One of the very few exceptions to this block has been Noor Group (AS20928), which still has 83 out of 83 live routes to its Egyptian customers, with inbound transit from Telecom Italia as usual. Why was Noor Group apparently unaffected by the countrywide takedown order? Unknown at this point, but we observe that the Egyptian Stock Exchange ( is still alive at a Noor address.

Its DNS A records indicate that it's normally reachable at 4 different IP addresses, only one of which belongs to Noor. Internet transit path diversity is a sign of good planning by the Stock Exchange IT staff, and it appears to have paid off in this case. Did the Egyptian government leave Noor standing so that the markets could open next week?

AT&T allowing unlimited iPhone data plans for some | iPhone Atlas - CNET Reviews

AT&T allowing unlimited iPhone data plans for some | iPhone Atlas - CNET Reviews

AT&T has quietly revised its data plans for iPhone users, allowing some to switch back to unlimited data. The move comes just weeks before the heralded Verizon iPhone launch, which many analysts believe will cause a great number of AT&T customers to jump ship.
Verizon announced that it would be offering an unlimited data plan for new iPhone users, something AT&T got rid of last summer. Now, AT&T has backtracked, allowing some users that previously had the unlimited plan to switch back if they so choose.
This policy does not cover new AT&T customers who never had an unlimited plan.
According to a report from The Associated Press, "AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel wouldn't confirm the option to return to an unlimited plan.
"We handle customers and their situations individually, and we're not going to discuss specifics," he said.
It is still unclear just how big the threat of a Verizon iPhone is to AT&T, but stories like this seem to indicate AT&T is feeling the pressure. It appears as though indicating that you are willing to move to Verizon might get you the option of unlimited data if you stay with AT&T. I must say, it's nice to see consumers get a little leverage.