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Egypt: Internet and Phones Restored but Perhaps Too Late

January 29, 2011

Mubarek will not allow ‘a minority’ to determine Egypt’s future. He said he will not be lax or tolerant of those pressing for reform, his own people. He is dismissing his cabinet and he will remain in power. President Obama made it clear there must be reform on all levels. In speaking with Mubarek, the President said the Egyptian President pledged a better democracy and better economic opportunity. Taken altogether, I believe Mubarek will not tolerate Obama’s insistence on reform either. He is a bonafide autocrat, a military man, and is highly unlikely to be the person to lead his country towards democracy. This can only turn out badly for the Egyptian people, the region, and the U.S.

But there is still some cellphone service, and so a new social media link that marries Google, Twitter and SayNow, a voice-based social media platform, gives Egyptians three phone numbers to call and leave a voicemail, which is then posted on the Internet as a recorded Twitter message. The messages are at twitter.com/speak2tweet and can also be heard by telephone.

Vodafone and France Telecom say mobile phone service was restored in Egypt on Saturday as demonstrations against President Hosni Mubarak’s government continued across the country on Monday.

Vodafone said there were no legal or practical options to avoid the demands of the Egyptian government, which has the ability to disrupt service on its own.

“We would like to make it clear that the authorities in Egypt have the technical capability to close our network, and if they had done so it would have taken much longer to restore services to our customers,” according to a statement published on its website.

The company’s other priority was “the safety of our employees, and any actions we take in Egypt will be judged in light of their continuing well-being.”

Vodafone issued a statement on Friday saying that all mobile operators had been ordered to shut down servers in some areas and that it was obligated under law to comply.

Text service is sporadic as is Internet service. Various news outlets are gathering information on the status of Cairo’s and Alexandria’s communication systems.

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