High-speed mobile Internet was restored in two districts—one each from Kashmir Valley and the Jammu province—on Sunday, over a year after the services were suspended throughout the erstwhile state.
“High-speed mobile data services in the districts of Ganderbal (Kashmir) and Udhampur (Jammu) shall be restored forthwith, on trial basis, while in rest of the districts, the Internet speed shall continue to be restricted to 2G only,” Principal Secretary (Home), Shaleen Kabra, said in an order. “While postpaid SIM card holders shall be provided access to the Internet, these services shall not be made available on prepaid SIM cards unless verified as per norms applicable for post-paid connections,” the order added.
The move comes nearly a week after the Home Ministry submitted in the Supreme Court that 4G Internet services would be restored on a “trial basis and calibrated manner in specified limited areas”.
After suspending phone and Internet services on August 5 last year—the day the Centre revoked the erstwhile state’s special status and bifurcated it into two UTs — the government had restored mobile Internet services on January 25. But, it had asked service providers to limit access to only the websites white-listed by the government and restrict the speed to 2G.
The ban on 4G Internet was challenged by a NGO. The Supreme Court panel looking into the issue had recommended its restoration on a “trial basis”.
The panel had recommended that the districts chosen for the trial “should not be in any areas adjoining the International Border/Line of Control” and that the area should have “low intensity of terrorists activities and minimal spill-over effects”.
Ganderbal is considered one of the more peaceful districts in the Valley. Udhampur was selected as it has no proximity to the border. Most districts in Jammu are considered peaceful.
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