Libya's Internet Restored Briefly After Months of Silence

By: Qichen Zhang on 3 September 2011

Recently, various sources have reported that Libya’s Internet has been turned back on after more than six months of a government-mandated blackout. On August 21, Internet connectivity was restored in Tripoli just as rebels were taking over the capital. CNN reported that the National Front for the Salvation of Libya tweeted immediately following the restoration:

"Welcome to all our brothers & sisters from inside Tripoli on Twitter... Internet returns to them first time in a long time! #Feb17 #Libya."

Shortly after, connectivity flickered on and off and went down again. New Hampshire web monitoring firm Renesys has been wading through what little data exists to find answers to the sudden return of Internet in the country. In an article for the Huffington Post, CEO Jim Cowie called it the “battle for Tripoli’s Internet” and said that “something very strange was going on with Tripoli residents' Internet access.” The company reports that although the international routes to the Internet remain in place, local Internet service is still unstable.

Other data companies have also discovered signs of Internet usage in Libya. Rebecca Rosen on the Atlantic drew attention to Google’s Transparency Report and pointed out the sharp jump in Libyan activity after months of silence. Conceivably Tech also reported that the browser developer Opera noticed spikes in usage in the country around August 21.

For more information on Libyan uprising and the Internet, please visit MENA Net Watch.