According to internet intelligence company Renesys, broadband access was restored to war-torn Libya on Sunday 21 August, only for the country to be taken offline several hours later. Since February, local internet access has been deliberately disrupted by the government, as long-time leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has struggled to retain power amid sustained rebel pressure. Although the outside world has been able to receive information online from Libya, most Libyan citizens have been cut off from their ADSL connection at the last mile. According to Renesys, Libya’s national connection to the internet consists of 16 blocks of IP addresses, each routed to the outside world through state-owned incumbent operator Libya Telecom & Technology (LTT). Although LTT’s international internet connection has demonstrated sporadic signs of failure in recent weeks, it only affected eleven of the 16 blocks, leaving certain neighbourhoods intact.
However, when the internet was effectively turned off on Sunday, it was done so at an international level. Specifically, several of the internet routes maintained by LTT had been removed from the global routing table, rendering them completely unavailable. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, internet connectivity in Libya was cut off at 00.15am (GMT) on Saturday 19 February amid increasingly fierce protests against Gaddafi’s rule.