Ever since rebels more or less seized control of Tripoli this weekend, there’s been something else on the verge of liberation besides the embattled city’ residents: their internet.
The corporate blog for IT company Renesys says that while the internet backbone has been online in Tripoli since the country-wide blackout in March, the average person hasn’t been able to gain access because the local ISPs have been shut down. But this weekend, something changed:
And early Sunday morning, the Twitterstream suddenly began reporting something that seemed, on the face of it, totally improbable: the Internet had been turned back on.
Why would the government turn the Internet back on in the middle of an armed uprising? To get people to stay at home and catch up on five months of email? It seemed preposterous. But clearly, as more and more people realised, it had happened. Bandwidth was scarce, but DSL service was back. People started Skypeing with friends and relatives, some reporting hearing live gunfire in the background as their VoIP calls began to connect.
A couple hours later, the connection died again, with evidence surfacing that someone hit the kill switch on the outside connection. Shortly after that, the outside connection came back, but the local service was down again. What’s going on is anyone’s guess, but considering that LTT, the ADSL provider for Libya, has a message on their site that now reads “Congratulations, Libya, on emancipation from the rule of the tyrant”, there’s at least one person of significance in the company who is on the side of the Libyan rebels. [Tripoli Latest via Renesys]