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Egypt Takes $90 Million Hit on Internet Blackout

February 3, 2011

FEBRUARY 3, 2011 — Information Week reports:

The country is back online, but the government’s shutdown of mass communications will likely have long-term economic repercussions, warns Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

On Wednesday, Egypt appeared to be back on the Internet. The country started going dark on Thursday — after a week of protests and the blocking of some Web sites — when President Hosni Mubarak’s government ordered that all forms of mass communication, including Internet access, mobile networks, and SMS, be blocked. By Friday, even the country’s stock exchange was offline.

But on Wednesday, the Internet blackout ended. Vodafone said that it had reinstated all of its data services in Egypt, enabling people to once again access the Internet, and that it was “actively lobbying to reactivate SMS services as quickly as possible for our customers.”

Indeed, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a think-tank based in Paris, estimates that the blackout cost Egypt’s economy about $90 million, or $18 million per day, comprising 3% to 4% of the country’s economic output. Furthermore, the economic damage isn’t over yet. According to the organization, Egypt will find it “much more difficult in the future to attract foreign companies and assure them that the networks will remain reliable.”

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