By Interoute

In a controversial move this week, the Egyptian government ordered a nationwide Internet black out. Matthew Finnie, CTO, Interoute comments on how such a blackout is possible:

“The ability to control the Internet in Egypt and order a blackout is not as complicated as it sounds. Domestic Internet access for most Egyptians is directly or indirectly provided by a very small number of licensed international ISP operators, making it relatively simple to order them to shut down their international Internet connectivity. It’s likely that this level of government control is even written into the license agreement for the local service providers.

“Because it was the Domestic ISPs and service providers who were forced to shut down the local data network, other international telecommunications traffic was not affected. Although Egypt is a major transit route for Global Internet traffic to the Middle East and India via a concentration of subsea fibre optic cables that land at Alexandria, this traffic was still able to flow freely. But this level of control by a single government at a major crossroads for the Global  Internet is surely a concern that needs to be addressed by opening up greater diversity or routes in the region.”