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Bahrain TRA shuts down ISP 2Connect

Licenses withdrawn for Bahrain ISP founded by opposition politician

Bahrain TRA shuts down ISP 2Connect
The Bahrain TRA has withdrawn licences for 2Connect citing requests from unnamed security authorities in the Kingdom.

Bahrain's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has announced that it will withdraw licences for telecoms and internet service provider 2Connect as of 27th March.

The regulator gave no reason for the shut down, although Ibrahim Sharif, a previous director of 2Connect, was arrested last week in government clampdowns. Sharif is also the head of opposition party Waad.

A statement on the TRA website said: "All licences of 2Connect shall be revoked within one week of publication of the resolution in the official gazette, which coincides with the 27th of March 2011. As a result of this revocation, all telecommunications services provided to 2Connect's customers will be permanently disconnected once the deadline stated in the resolution comes to pass."

The TRA said it would withdraw all licences effective 27th March, and that businesses should take steps to procure new service providers. It was reported by Reuters that some Bahraini banks used 2Connect services for certain transaction platforms, and would now only have a few days to switch these core systems to other providers.

2Connect is appealing the ruling according to UAE daily The National. Fahad al Shirawi, CEO of 2Connect said that Sharif had resigned as a member of the board of the company last year, although he remained a shareholder.

Shirawi said that the company had been told its licences were being withdrawn for unconfirmed security reasons, but that it had been given no further information beyond that.

2Connect, formed in 2004, offers fixed line, internet, international calling, hosting and other services.

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