Low speed mobile internet restored with restrictions

MAJID NABI. Dated: 1/26/2020 12:15:12 AM

People disappointed over poor connectivity ask govt to fix problem

SRINAGAR, Jan 25: Finally 2G internet services on all prepaid and postpaid mobile phones were restored across Kashmir almost six months after special constitutional position of Jammu and Kashmir was repealed and erstwhile state downgraded into two Union Territories on August 5 last year.
2G internet was restored on all networks in the valley a day after Jammu and Kashmir Home Department issued a formal notification to restore much needed service in the valley after six months.
Pertinent to mention that all communication channels were suspended in Jammu and Kashmir on August 4 midnight hours before erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state was divided into two Union Territories following abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A on August 5 last year.
Service however remained limited to white listed sites while access to all social media sites continued to remain barred. The move came six months after apex announced its verdict on bunch of petitions challenging ‘unwarranted’ suspension of communication channels in Kashmir. SC pulled the newly carved out UT administration for depriving people of their fundamental rights.
2G internet services were restored on all networks including government owned BSNL, Jio, Airtel, Vodafone and Idea.
People appreciated the top court for giving them some relief. They however complained that besides blacklisted sites, white list sites also remained inaccessible due to poor internet connectivity. They said it takes hours to open a site on 2G network on mobile phones.
People took handsets out of their pockets as soon as 2G internet service was restored in the valley this afternoon. However, they felt disappointed when they were unable to access even those sites which according to government were declared as white listed.
Notification issued by the J&K Home Department stated that access to the internet with 2G speed on mobile phones will resume from January 25. However, it was also stated that access shall be limited on white listed sites and social media applications will continue to remain blocked.
“I really don’t see this as a favour to people of Kashmir who remained cutoff for nearly six months since August 5. All social media sites have been blocked while the so-called white listed sites also remain inaccessible. Why government makes fun of people if they cannot provide better service,” said Ishfaq, a businessmen.
He said that government had also announced to restore fixed line internet service in the valley which is yet to see the light of the day.
Earlier 2G internet service was restored in Bandipora and Kupwara districts of north Kashmir and all the districts of Jammu province last week.
KTNS adds from Jammu:
The restoration of 2G internet service brought relief only partially. While subscribers of BSNL complained that the 2G connectivity was so slow that it only showed connectivity but did not help open any website including the white-listed, some of the subscribers of Jio and Airtel said that the sites could be accessed but were too slow.
“I was booking train tickets on the internet,” said Amit, a Jio subscriber, but rued that he could not do so. “I could access the railways booking site. But the connection was so slow that by the time I could pay, the connection was timed out,” he said, adding, “I tried three times and failed. I gave it up.”
The connectivity is not very helpful, his friend Raman added.
As per the order issued by the Home Department, the internet speed has been restricted to 2G and limited only to the white-listed sites.
The order directed that "Access will be limited only to white listed sites and not to any social media applications allowing peer to peer communication and Virtual Private Network applications. Further the data services will be available on post-paid mobiles as well as prepaid SIM cards of such holders whose credentials have been verified as per the norms applicable for post-paid connections. For fixed line internet connectivity, access will be limited only after Mac-binding”, says the order.
The order has listed around 300 white listed websites including email services, banking websites, education-related websites, job platforms, entertainment, tour and travel, weather websites etc adding that the white listing of sites shall be a continuous process.
The administration has also decided to continue the communication/access facilities at e-terminals, internet kiosks for students, tourists, traders etc, says the order.
The directions will remain in force till January 31, 2020, unless modified earlier, reads the order.



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