‘Internet only in name’: Low speed irks J-K youth day after services resumed
People were relieved with the restoration of prepaid mobile services across Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday but wanted full restoration of internet services on postpaid phones, marred by low-speed 2G data services.
“Common people are relieved with the start of prepaid services and many students and professionals can now access their emails and e-banking websites after 2G was restored on postpaid mobile services,” said Aijaz Ahmad, a private employee of Bandipora.
Kupwara and Bandipora are the two districts of north Kashmir along with the 10 districts of Jammu where the internet was restored on postpaid phones after more than a 6-month-long ban. However, the low speed remains a sore point.
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“My mail is working on my mobile but social media have been barred. The speed is very low. If the authorities have problems with social media, let them at-least restore the internet fully,” he said.
The 2G internet connectivity announced on Saturday is only for “whitelisted” websites identified by the government and doesn’t include social media. Whitelisting is done to allow access to safe websites.
The announcements follows Supreme Court’s January 10 directive to review the ban on internet services in the Union Territory within a week.
Official sources say that there is a possibility of restoration of 2G internet in more districts of Kashmir after January 26, the Republic Day.
Muzaffar Ahmad, a student in the frontier district of Kupwara, was very annoyed with the low speed. “This is internet only in name. They banned social media and have now announced start of net. What is the motive when it is not serving the purpose of people? Till the time any so-called whitelisted website opens, it gets timed out,” Ahmad said.
“Please upgrade the internet speed. Students have to submit different forms and upload certificates and photographs and how can they do these things with this dismal speed,” he added.
Mobile phone, landline and internet services were disconnected in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir on August 4, a day before the Centre withdrew its special status and divided it into two union territories — Jammu & Kashmir with a legislative assembly and Ladakh without one.
The government has gradually restored phone lines, but broadband and high-speed mobile internet services remain suspended. Landlines were restored between mid-August and September and postpaid mobile services were back on October 14. Mobile internet services were restored in Kargil, a part of the Union Territory of Ladakh, on December 27. Short messaging service (SMS) on all mobile phones in Kashmir, and broadband internet services in government-run hospitals were restored from January 1.
“We request government to please restore the internet fully. All our economic and educational activities get halted due to internet gag,” said a post-graduate economics student of Srinagar, Yaqoob Ahmad.
After Supreme Court’s order, the government on January 15, also restored broadband facilities in government offices, banks and some tourism establishments. However, media personnel are facing challenges with only a single internet facility called Media Centre made available to them in Srinagar.