4G internet service back in Ganderbal; 2G service continue elsewhere in Kashmir

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Srinagar: The 4G internet services of all Cellular companies have been restored in central Kashmir district of Ganderbal on Sunday night while elsewhere in Kashmir valley only 2G service will continue till further orders.
The government in the Union Territory (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir had informed the Supreme Court (SC) during last hearing that on trial basis 4G internet service will be restored in two districts — one each in Kashmir and Jammu. A number of Public Interest Litigations (PILs) were filed in the Apex court, demanding restoration of high speed internet service.
Finally, the 4G internet service was resumed in Ganderbal in Kashmir and Udhampur in Jammu region late last night after remaining suspended for over one year. Besides broadband and other point-to-point service provider, 4G service has also been restored on post-paid mobile phones of all Cellular companies including, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) in the Ganderbal, a Gujjar dominated district in central Kashmir which remained by and large peaceful.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Ganderbal warned that anybody found misusing the service will face the law.
The SSP in a tweet said, “Good news for Ganderbal, 4G net services being restored but austerity demands not to misuse it, maintaining its status as per law is always expected from everyone.”
The continuous gag on high speed mobile internet since August last year has badly affected students, professionals and journalists, who find it difficult to work online due to 2G internet speed. Students allege that following gag on 4G internet services they find it very difficult to take online classes in view of closure of schools and other educational institutes due to COVID-19 pandemic. “It is difficult to take online classes on 2G internet speed and the live stream keeps on buffering and disconnecting… It is very annoying when such a thing happens during an online lecture. As 4G internet was restored in Ganderbal, it should also be restored on other parts of the valley so that students can study online,” Turfa, an IUST students said.
Similar, views were expressed by professionals who are either dependent on internet or were forced to work from home in view of the closure of officers due to COVID-19 pandemic.
The internet service of all Cellular companies was suspended on August 5, 2019 when the Centre scrapped Article 370 and divided the state into two Union Territories (UTs) after detaining almost all mainstream leaders, including three former Chief Ministers. However, majority leaders have since been released.
Landline and low speed mobile internet service were restored in Jammu and Ladakh after few weeks while people in Kashmir had to wait for several months. After massive protests by people, particularly students, who could not contact their family members, including parents, due to communication gauge, district administrations opened free call centres for people. However, these call centres proved insufficient as people had to wait for hours before talking to their relatives outside for a minute.
It was on only in the last week of August 2019 that landlines were restored to subscribers connected with Barzulla and Sonawar telephone exchange. Landline phones of subscribers, including all media organizations, from main BSNL telephone exchange were restored only on September 5.
Meanwhile, the post-paid mobile phone services were restored on October 14, 2019 while the SMS services for BSNL started from December 31 midnight.
Due to the suspension of internet, journalists working for different organizations, including news agencies, were badly hit. However, later administration setup a media facilitation centre at Sonawar in the city. The centre was from there shifted to Directorate Information Office in Srinagar.
Meanwhile, 2G Mobile internet service was restored in the valley in January this year after a number of individuals and organizations challenged the banning of the service.