Libya starts to reconnect to internet

image captionSome Twitter activity seemed to be coming out of Tripoli

Libya's internet connections appear to be slowly coming back online after a six-month blackout.

The state-run internet service provider (ISP) carried a message on its website that said: "Libya, one tribe".

However, local people have reported patchy reliability with connections coming and going.

Internet traffic in Libya dropped to almost nothing in early March when Colonel Gaddafi's government pulled the plug in an attempt to suppress dissent.

With Tripoli under siege, and the rebels reportedly gaining the upper hand, the authorities' stranglehold on net connections appeared to be loosening.

Both Google's web analytics and Akamai's net monitoring service showed a spike in traffic coming from the country early on 22 August.

Akamai's director of market intelligence, David Belson, said that internet activity had increased almost 500%, although it had declined again later in the day.

image captionBoth Akamai (top) and Google (bottom) recorded a spike in web traffic on 22 August

Writing on the blog of internet intelligence firm Renesys, chief technology officer James Cowie said that Libya's Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) routing appeared to have been taken down briefly, effectively making the country's internal networks disappear from the internet.

The BGPs were later restored, although local ADSL broadband connections then became unavailable, wrote Mr Cowie.

Web monitoring companies conceded that it was difficult to know exactly what was going on inside the country to make the internet connections sporadically available.

However, it appeared that Libyans were making use of their newly restored connectivity - when available - to chronicle fast-moving events inside the country.

Groups such as the Libya Youth Movement posted Twitter messages giving regular updates on attempts to capture Colonel Gaddafi's compound.