Dial-up to the Rescue in Egypt

This week has seen me sitting on the foreign desk of The Sunday Telegraph, which mean basically monitoring Egypt. There was a moment of panic yesterday when we lost contact with our two correspondents in Cairo. With mobile phones down and the internet taken off air (or however it works), the only means of contact was their hotel landline. And the operator there wasn’t picking up.

We made contact a couple of hours later. All was fine.

But it wasn’t supposed to be like this was it? I thought the whole point of the internet was that it was untakedownable. Sure you can take out servers with denial of service attacks and so on. But to black out an entire country… As data from Abor Networks show, that is exactly what happened in Egypt yesterday.

It couldn’t stop the protests though. Demonstrators knew to head to the mosques and take it from there. And, by last night, dial-up numbers were circulating on twitter, offering means of connecting via servers in Sweden or France.

Telecomix@telecomix Telecomix We are now providing dialup modem service at +46850009990. user/pass: telecomix/telecomix (only for #egypt, respect that please!).
So long as the international lines stay open, internet access is possible. And an almost obselete technology becomes vital. Although I’m still unclear how these messages were being passed around in Egypt…

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