The high-speed internet services continue to be barred in Jammu and Kashmir. The services were snapped on 5 August 2019 and on ensuing Thursday, the ban shall complete 500 days. While telecommunications and internet services have been restored since 5 August 2019, the internet is only of 2G bandwidth and not 4G. Almost all important activities, from online classes to businesses, have been deeply affected even as government claims are contrary to what transpires on the ground.
The ‘G’ word in this terminology means ‘generation’. While 5G internet connectivity is about to become available in the whole world, including India, Kashmir has been relegated to 2G or second generation. While a 2G connection gives a speed of 14-64 kbps, 4G can offer a speed between 100mbps and 1Gbps.
The government has refused to lift the ban on 4G even as lot of hope was generated in wake of the culmination of the DDC polls and according to official admissions, same where incident-free.
In last week of November, the government had extended the curbs on use of high-speed internet services in J&K, barring Ganderbal and Udhampur, citing “continued attempts from across the border” to disrupt then upcoming District Development Council elections, among other reasons. The DDC polls came to an end on December 22 and in couple of days later, the results were declared also. Against the expectations of many though, the government on December 25 extended the ban, citing among others large turnout in DDC polls as a reason to continue it. The order by Home department stated that participation by political parties across the spectrum and large scale turnout has not gone down well with elements inimical to public “peace and tranquility”.
After more than a year, the government had started on the trial basis the 4G internet in Ganderbal and Udhampur from mid-August after “taking into consideration the option to tryout of opening up high-speed internet despite the current security situation as reflected in the inputs of the security agencies”.
The decision followed recommendations by a Special Committee, constituted for the purpose, that the present situation “could permit “ a carefully calibrated easing of some restrictions in limited and specified geographical areas which are comparatively less sensitive from “national security, internal security, border security and public order standpoint, subject to strict monitoring and periodical review.” The government needs to review policy on 4G internet and restore it now in across the J&K or at least in more districts.