Two districts – Udhampur in Jammu and Ganderbal in Kashmir – saw 4G internet being restored on Sunday, August 16. This happened after official orders passed by Shaleen Kabra, who is the Principal Secretary to the Government of India.
“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 authorities.
This service was officiated by the government on a trial basis, and is scheduled to remain in effect till September 8, unless modified earlier, for postpaid SIM cards. Prepaid SIM cards can receive high-speed internet after adequate verification. The decision came only 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 after August 15.
A special committee recommended the apex court to allow high-speed internet access to areas that had a low intensity of terrorist activities. The two districts in this case were identified based on inputs from law enforcement agencies in context of specific parameters set by the special committee.
The Indian government had halted internet services in J&K on August 5, 2019, when they made the landmark decision of scrapping Article 370 of the Constitution, revoking the special status of the state, and converting it into two Union Territories. Landlines and postpaid mobile services were up and running in the Union Territories by October that year, while SMS and broadband in government-run hospitals started on January 1, 2020.
2G internet services resumed on January 25, 2020. Now, more than a year after internet services were suspended, Jammu and Kashmir received access to high-speed internet.“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.