Vodafone Egypt remains silent as access goes down ahead of Friday protests

Some worrying reports are coming out Egypt right now – to add to all the other worrying reports I guess.

Respected blog The Arabist reports that DSL and 3G services have been taken offline in Cairo. This is confirmed by CNN correspondent Ben Wedeman, on the ground in Cairo.

Now, coincidentally or not, this has come literally within the hour after AP TV posted a video of a man being shot point blank by police. The man appears to be dead, though that is not confirmed.

The main ISPs in Egypt at TEDATA, whose own site appears to be down, Vodafone, and Egynet. In addition, Italy-based Seabone has reported that there was no Internet traffic going into or out of Egypt after 12:30 a.m. local time.

For it’s part Vodafone Egypt last tweeted on January 25 (see screen shot above), the day the protests started, and has not tweeted since. So the question is, who at Vodafone Egypt is pulling the strings and why is a seemingly independent mobile phone network appearing to go down, just when it’s customers need it most?

Certainly this, from a journalist in Cairo, does not look good at all, although it’s clearly not possible to verify:

Unfortunately, there are a lot of rumours flying around that the Egyptian government plans something on Friday that it doesn’t want the world to witness. Traditional Friday prayers are likely to be a flashpoint in the uprising.

Certainly, twitter users, wherever they are, are not amused.