4G back in 2 Jammu and Kashmir districts on a trial basis till Sept 8

An official order said 4G mobile data services on postpaid numbers will be restored in Jammu’s Udhampur and Kashmir’s Ganderbal districts. The order will remain in effect until September 8, unless modified earlier.
Mobile phone, landline and internet services were snapped in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir hours before the Centre nullified Article 370.(Waseem Andrabi/HT Photo)
Mobile phone, landline and internet services were snapped in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir hours before the Centre nullified Article 370.(Waseem Andrabi/HT Photo)
Updated on Aug 17, 2020 12:26 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, Srinagar | ByAshiq Hussain

The government restored high-speed mobile internet services in two districts of Jammu and Kashmir on a trial basis on Sunday, a little over a year after the facility was snapped ahead of the revocation of the region’s special status and its bifurcation.

An official order said 4G mobile data services on postpaid numbers will be restored in Jammu’s Udhampur and Kashmir’s Ganderbal districts. The order will remain in effect until September 8, unless modified earlier.

“The high speed mobile data services in the districts of Ganderbal and Udhampur shall be restored forthwith, on trial basis, while in rest of the districts , the internet speed shall continue to be restricted to 2G only,” said an order signed by principal secretary home, Shaleen Kabra. For now, 4G data services will be available on prepaid SIM cards only after official verification.

The order came days after the central government told the Supreme Court that restrictions on high-speed mobile internet services will be relaxed in one district each of Jammu and Kashmir divisions of the Union Territory after August 15 on a trial basis.

The decision was based on recommendations made by the special committee constituted as per the top court’s May 11 directions. The committee recommended that the areas, where high-speed services are allowed, should have low intensity of terrorist activities.

The relaxation will be reviewed periodically, by state authorities every seven days and by central authorities after two months but complete relaxation of restrictions in the entire Union Territory will not be possible due to security concerns, the Centre told the apex court. The SC was hearing a petition filed by Foundation for Media Professionals, a non-government organisation.

Sunday’s order said the two districts were identified on the basis of inputs from law enforcement agencies in context of the parameters laid down by the special committee.

“ We are eagerly waiting for 4G… people are happy. Our children, our youngsters have suffered a lot educationally in absence of high-speed internet in the past one year, “ said Majid Wani, a resident of Ganderbal.

Mobile phone, landline and internet services were snapped in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir hours before the Centre nullified Article 370, which accorded the region special status, and divided it into two union territories — Jammu & Kashmir with a legislative assembly and Ladakh without one.

Over the past year, communication lines were gradually restored. Landlines were back between August and September 2019 and postpaid mobile services restarted on October 14, 2019. Short messaging service (SMS) on all mobile phones in Kashmir, and broadband internet services in government-run hospitals were restored on January 1, 2020. The 2G mobile internet services were restored across the Valley on January 25, 2020.

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