Egypt turns internet back on

The internet is again up and running in Egypt, after being shut down for five days.

Egyptian authorities ordered ISPs to block access last week, as anti-Government protests swept the country. Last night, embattled president Hosni Mubarak delivered a speech saying he would not run for re-election.

Today, reports are saying internet access is returning, with Twitter flooded by messages from Egyptians celebrating the news.

Mobile operator MobiNil told the Wall Street Journal that service was restored, while Egyptian websites and blogs have started to return online.

The internet blackout may have prevented easy access to the web, but it didn’t stop hundreds of thousands from organising protests or even block Twitter access, as Google paired with that site to offer a voice-to-tweet system, so users could call in their updates.

Despite the good news, there are mixed reports about social-networking sites, with some reporting access and others saying such sites remain blocked.

The Egyptian block has raised concerns about how easy it is to knock an entire country offline, just as the US considers its own internet kill switch.

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