Remember when Iran talked about launching its own, state controlled, internal version of the Internet? Well it looks like those plans have been delayed, at least for a few months.
The Payvand.com web site reports that Iran's Minister of Communications Reza Taghipour said that the country's "national Internet" would launch sometime in June. The government had previously said that it would go live in February.
Meanwhile, the government of Iran has reportedly cut off access to the Internet for its citizens yet again. Just a few days after Iran shut down access to web-based email and web sites, the country's residents are reportedly not able to access outside web sites today.
According to Reuters, the disruptions are even worse than what happened earlier in February since its citizens also cannot access web sites with the Secure Sockets Layer protocol. Some Iranians have tried to use VPN connections to gain access to the outside Internet in the past; however, the article quotes an unnamed Iranian technology expert who said of today's blackout, "The situation regarding accessing these websites is even worse than last week because the VPNs are not working."
So far Iran's government has not commented about this latest Internet shutdown. However, some are speculating that the government is cracking down on speech ahead of planned parliamentary elections that are scheduled to happen on March 2.