After blocking Twitter on Tuesday and, intermittently, Facebook and Google on Wednesday, the Egyptian government has upped the ante, throwing a complete Internet access block across the whole of the country. Additionally blocked are Blackberry service and SMS.

Reports are pouring in, many to Twitterers via landline, that the country has been "cut off" and is now a "black hole."

Reports from Cairo, Alexandria and elsewhere in the country indicate the block is wholesale and countrywide.

CNN's Ben Wedeman commented, "No internet, no SMS, what is next? Mobile phones and land lines? So much for stability" and asked "Will #Egypt totally cut communications with the outside world?"

That depends, I think, on whether the idea now is to disrupt communications between groups of protesters or to lay a blackout curtain across Egypt to mask a total crackdown. As many as eight protesters, three in Cairo and five in Suez, have been killed, along with one policeman. I think if landlines and mobile go, the question must become, is the Egyptian government planning a wholesale massacre? (AP has raw footage of security forces converging, then killing a protester. Please be warned. This is some vicious shit.)

Those in and outside of Egypt have pledged to keep as much in connection to one another using whichever avenues remain. This is one of those times, however, in which the presence of functioning traditional journalists will pick up from the citizens who had been reporting on the ground.

UPDATES

Some reports indicate landlines are down.

Further reports indicate Vodafone will be shutting down mobile service and Facebook videos uploaded by those who retain Internet connection are getting deleted. Can anyone confirm?

Egyptian interior ministry's "decisive measures" may be code for "massacre" now that the Internet's largely dark.

Egyptian Internet cut-off documented by Rensys. Big four Egyptian ISPs, on which the majority of Egyptians, and Egyptian businesses and organizations, rely are offline.

As of 12:35 p.m. (PST), all communications seem to be cut off "except landlines from 5 star hotels & Nour ISP" according to a source in the region (but not in the country).

When rumors hit the protesters that the Egyptian Museum was going to be looted due to abrupt police abandonment, they ringed it with their own bodies to protect it.

Another source, a journalist said:

"Latest I've read/heard confirmed:

1) 93 percent of 'net traffic blocked. Only one ISP, Noor, is still up and running.

2) Cell service cut off, per government order, in various places -- may be countrywide now, but what I read suggested that they asked it to be selective (probably not in tourist destinations, for example).

3) Some landlines, particularly in Cairo, are reported down as well."