Egypt considers cutting internet for 80 percent of users

Egypt considers cutting internet for 80 percent of users
2 min read
20 October, 2016
Egypt’s telecommunications minister announced plans to tackle 'illegal internet', but most Egyptians rely on it
Egypt has one of the slowest internet connections in the world [Getty]
Egypt's telecommunications minister has threatened to cut the internet supply for around sixteen million subscribers that are accessing the internet illegally.

Yasser al-Qadi, speaking on the Egyptian television show 'Every day', said that the government was going to update the country's internet infrastructure to a 4G connection at the beginning of 2017, in a move which would 'eliminate any illegal connections'.

"There are 4.2 million internet subscribers that are legitimate and 16 million subscribers that are using Internet connections illegally, putting pressure on the networks," Qadi said in an interview with the show's host, Amr Adib.

Qadi also said that the maintenance of all current internet lines will end this year as the country will upgrade to a faster connection.

"We [Egypt] are one of six countries out of 154 that do not currently have 4G connection," he said.

"We are upgrading [to 4G] in early 2017, but we will not stay at a 4G connection - films will be downloaded faster and the speeds will be unprecedented."

According to a recent study, Egypt currently has one of the slowest internet speeds in the world.

It is unclear if the government will cut internet connection to the old lines or if the old internet connections will continue as usual until the lines become too old for purpose.

Unfortunately, in a situation that many of Egypt's internet users may be able to associate with, it is not possible to transcribe more of the minister's comments because the television channel's official YouTube recording has been corrupted.

The Egyptian government has a history of blocking public access to the internet. Lawmakers voted to ban Facebook's low-cost Free Basics Internet service in May and considered banning the social network site completely, after Facebook refused to allow the government spy on their own citizens.

Cybercrime and anti-terrorism laws have also helped prosecute online activists who use the internet to propagate anti-establisment views.