The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Sunday night restored high-speed mobile Internet services on a trial basis in Ganderbal and Udhampur districts — one each in Kashmir and Jammu divisions — over a year after the facility was suspended.
The resumption of 4G Internet services on mobile devices came days after the Centre had informed the Supreme Court that a special committee looking into the matter was considering allowing the facility on a trial basis in two of the 20 districts of the Union Territory.
“The high-speed mobile data services in the districts of Ganderbal (Kashmir) and Udhampur (Jammu division) shall be restored forthwith, on trial basis, while in rest of the districts, the internet speed shall continue to be restricted to 2G only,” an order issued by the Jammu and Kashmir Home Department read.
The order issued by Principal Secretary Shaleen Kabra said the directions would be effective from 9 pm Sunday and will remain in force till September 8, unless modified earlier.
“Whereas, in context of the conclusions drawn and the parameters laid down by the special committee for considering calibrated easing of restrictions in limited and comparatively less sensitive geographical areas, the law enforcement agencies, while furnishing fresh inputs relating to the present security scenario in the UT of JK, have identified the districts of Ganderbal and Udhampur for lifting restrictions on high-speed mobile Internet connectivity on trial basis and these recommendations are found to be in conformity with the law laid down as also the conditions set by the special committee,” it said.
The order said that high-speed Internet will be provided to post-paid subscribers while pre-paid customers would be able to enjoy the benefit of the services only after completing the verification process.
With regard to the fixed-line Internet connectivity, it said, “Internet connectivity, without any speed related restrictions, shall continue to be made available with Mac-binding.”
Internet services were snapped in Jammu and Kashmir hours before the Centre abrogated its special status and bifurcated the erstwhile state into union territories — Ladakh, and Jammu and Kashmir — on August 5 last year.
However, the 2G internet facility on mobile phones was restored on January 25. Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had asked the Jammu and Kashmir administration to explore the possibility of restoring 4G services in certain areas.
The apex court was hearing a plea by an NGO seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against the Union Home Secretary and the Chief Secretary of JK for their alleged “wilful disobedience” in complying with the courts May 11 order which had directed for constituting a committee that would go into the possibilities of restoring high-speed Internet in the union territory.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration had sought time to take instructions on the restoration of high-speed data services, saying a new Lt Governor has been appointed in the Union Territory.
Manoj Sinha was appointed the L-G of Jammu and Kashmir after G C Murmu suddenly resigned from the post on August 5.
However, the top court had told the administration that with the change of L-G, nothing changes as the special committee is there to look into the issue.
The order of Sunday mentions that the decision was taken at the third meeting of the special committee, constituted in terms of the Supreme Court order of May 11 in case titled “foundation for Media professionals vs UT of JK and others” held on August 10.