Egyptian government cuts off internet and cell phone service

In its effort to silence protesters, Egypt took a step that's rare even among authoritarian governments: It cut off the Internet across the entire country.

The nation's four main Internet providers all went dark, and cell phone service was suspended in some areas. But the drastic move did not stop demonstrators Friday, and it could backfire by fueling anger and chaos in the streets of Cairo and beyond.

Autocratic governments often limit phone and Internet access in tense times. But the Internet has never faced anything like what happened in Egypt on Friday, when the government of a country with 80 million people and a modernizing economy cut off nearly all access to the network and shut down cellphone service.