Egyptians Sidestep Internet Blackouts with Landline Phones

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With Egypt’s last remaining internet service provider taken offline, the country’s citizens have resorted to old school telephone technology to establish limited connections to the outside world.

Several internet service providers outside of Egypt have established dial-up phone numbers that can be used for pokey-yet-usable connections like the ones that have slowly died out in many developed countries as broadband internet becomes more prevalent and less expensive.

And Google and Twitter teamed up to build a speak-to-tweet service that allows people inside Egypt to call one of three international phone numbers and leave a voicemail that’ll be transcribed and sent out over Twitter. The messages themselves can be heard at the Speak To Tweet Twitter page.

Vodafone Egypt has also restored mobile voice service to its Egyptian customers as of Saturday, accompanied by a statement explaining recent service outages as a result of “no legal or practical options open to Vodafone, or any of the mobile operators in Egypt, but to comply with the demands of the authorities.”

Some groups have even been accepting faxes and publishing the contents of their messages online or routing designated messages to other people as e-mails. Ham radio has been suggested as another means of communication, though reports are trickling in that indicate “little to no traffic” has been heard from those inside Egypt.

Satellite phones and internet connections have been put to use as well, though steep connection and equipment costs have meant that not many people have had access to the technology. Many journalists on the ground in Egypt have sat-phones, though, which has helped information get out.

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