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BlackBerry and Vodafone restored for some Egyptians; Internet still down

cell phonesThe Internet blackout continues in Egypt, but BlackBerry service has been restored in the largely disconnected country. Egyptian authorities shut down BlackBerry access after initially blocking social media sites like Twitter and Faebook to control political protests, and all cell phone and Internet connection quickly followed. There are now reports that BlackBerry and Vodafone are working in Cairo and in other parts of the country. It is unknown whether this is true for all of Egypt, however.

NBC Correspondent Richard Engel reported that his own BlackBerry was working in Cairo early this morning his time, noting that “I don’t think that’s going to fundamentally change the equation, but it is showing responsiveness” (see video below). ABC News’ Lara Setrakian also tweeted that cell phone service was coming back but that the Internet was still inaccessible on the 29.

As Egyptians (or at least some) regain BlackBerry and possibly other cell phone services, North American’s lost it. Canadian and U.S. RIM users reportedly lost connected through their BlackBerries until Saturday morning this weekend. RIM has since resolved the issue.

Vodafone released a statement Saturday morning saying it had restored voice services for Egyptian customers, and also noted that “It has been clear to us that there were 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.”

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