The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Thursday said that only 2G mobile internet services will be available to residents till April 3 amid calls for restoration of high-speed 4G internet in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
In an order issued on Thursday, Principal Secretary of Home Department Shaleen Kabra said the internet speed on mobile phones will be restricted to 2G only. “Postpaid SIM card holders shall be provided with access to the internet,” the order read. “However, such access shall not be made available on prepaid SIM cards unless verified as per the norms applicable for postpaid connections.”
Several political parties, including the National Conference, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Congress, have called for the restoration of 4G mobile internet services in Jammu and Kashmir to help people deal with the emergency situation created by the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier this month, the Jammu and Kashmir administration had revoked the ban on social media nearly seven months after it was put in place as the Centre stripped the region of its special status and split it into two Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. So far, the administration had allowed usage of 2G internet speed, and access was granted to only whitelisted websites.
Jammu and Kashmir has been under partial lockdown since August 5, when the Centre revoked the erstwhile state’s special status under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. There has been a gradual ease on communication restrictions, however, high-speed 3G and 4G continue to be banned. On February 25, the region gained access to only 1,674 websites. In an order issued earlier this month, there was no information on whitelisted sites, which meant the region has access to all sites.