Ban on high-speed Internet on mobiles extended till April 3: J&K govt.

The J&K administration on Thursday decided to continue with the ban on the high-speed Internet for all mobile phone users in J&K, despite requests by political parties and civil society groups to restore it in the wake on the COVID-19 crisis.

The J&K Home department said the decision to extended the ban till April 3 “was taken after considering the overall security and the reports of the law enforcement agencies inter alia”.

“The Internet speed shall be restricted to 2G only. The post-paid SIM card holders shall be provided with access to the Internet. However, such access shall not be made available on pre-paid sim cards unless verified as per the norms applicable for post-paid connections,” reads the order.

The decision comes despite local political parties and civil society groups demanding restoration of 4G in the wake of the COVID-19 spread in J&K.

Recently released National Conference (NC) vice-president Omar Abdullah had also demanded restoration of 4G to help people to stay alert on COVID19. “We are being told to learn through Internet how to stay safe from the pandemic, but what would we learn, when we cannot open anything on the net with 2G speed,” he said.

Kashmir Private School Association Jammu & Kashmir (PSAJK) president G.N. Var said the absence of high-speed Internet had left students away for online classes.

“Classes exclusively online through apps and software like Zoom and Google Classroom are the only option for the schools till they reopen. High-speed Internet facility at home is the only way to help students to learn remotely,” said Mr. Var.

Only fixed line broadband service is allowed in Kashmir. However, over 65 lakh mobile users continue to connect websites with 2G speed, which is incompatible to access many dynamic websites, locals said.

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