Egypt Says Current Act Still Allows Cutting Off Internet Access

Egypt authorities can shut down once again network services in case of the occurrence of any riots erupted during the planned anti-president June 30 protests, an official source from the country’s telecom regulator told Amwal Al Ghad on Thursday.
An official source in the National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (NTRA), has asserted that upon the current law of NTRA, cutting off telecom and internet services access are still active. He said the failure to amend the law shall eventually allow various parties to control and shut down the network services in case of the political riots, similar to January 2011 uprising. 

The source added to Amwal Al Ghad that according to the current law  Eng. Atef Helmy, Egyptian Minister of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has no right to prevent ‘security agencies’ to cut the telecom services in case of threatening the national security, stressing that the Ministry is not within the parties which controlling communication interruption in Egypt. 

Telecommunication Regulation Law No.10 of 2003 has stated that NTRA Board of Directors shall allocate funds for scientific research and development studies related to NTRA activities, whether undertaken by it or assigned to others, within the budget appropriation set for such purpose. Any mean transmitting or receiving signs, signals, messages, texts, images or sounds of whatsoever nature whether through wired or wireless communication.

The law said providing or operating telecommunication through whatsoever mean. The system or the group of integrated systems for telecommunication including any needed infrastructure, any  individual or justice person who uses of benefits from telecommunication services.

In case of  any natural disaster or environmental or in cases which will announce by the general mobilization and threaten the national security, the competent authorities have the rights to control all networks and telecom services. 

The Minister emphasized in the previous statements that he will never permit to repeat what was happened during 25 January revolution in 30 June  such as cutting telecommunication and internet services. 

Moreover, TE Data the internet service provider market leader in Egypt and a subsidiary of Telecom Egypt (ETEL.CA), has asserted that it is ready to make contingency plan in order to ensure providing the internet service within 30 June demonstrations.