‘For Kashmir, 4G a Distant Dream as Ban on Service Extended Again’

We don’t know when we would be able to search the world wide web like others.

Updated15 Jun 2020, 01:06 PM IST
My Report
3 min read

Video Editor: Prashant Chauhan
Video Producer: Zijah Sherwani

It’s been 10 months since the abrogation of Article 370. It was on 5 August 2019 when internet connectivity was completely banned till 25 January 2020, after which slow-speed 2G internet resumed on mobile phones. But till date, 4G internet is still a distant dream for many of us in Jammu and Kashmir.

Ignoring our plea for the resumption of high speed internet, the Jammu and Kashmir Government has extended the ban on 4G internet till 17 June. According to reports, the government suggest a rise in cross-LoC infiltration by militants the reason behind this move. The news has obviously left us frustrated and anxious as the 2G internet is not letting us do our simple tasks like making video calls or even downloading games.

I spoke to a few people in Kashmir to understand the issues they faced with slow internet and how it has hampered their life and business.

A Mother Who is Unable to Video Call Her Daughter

Shagufta’s daughter is studying in Bangladesh and her son in Delhi. It’s been months since Shagufta has successfully managed to make a video call to her daughter. However, talking to her son in Delhi is still manageable.

“I have not seen their faces since a long time. I am feeling very lonely because I am not able to video call them. I am not able to make a direct call to Bangladesh because Rs 35 get deducted for just saying hello.”
Shagufta

Business Suffer Heavy Losses

The 2G internet speed has slowed down Sadia Mufti, a women fashion studio owner’s business. Due to COVID-19, many like Sadia are unable to go to their stores or even ask customers to visit the store.

“I am not able to fulfil my targets. This is the season we earn, summer is the season to earn, we have brides to do. Whenever I have to connect with my customers on WhatsApp, it gets very difficult for me to send them images (of the items) that I am going to make for them or it gets impossible for them to connect with me.”
Sadia Mufti, Women Fashion Studio Owner

Even the sales of PPE suits and masks have not helped her business recover due to the internet connectivity. “I have to pay my workers every month. I have to pay my expenses. I have to pay my rents, which is getting very difficult for me. I am getting very depressed looking at how my business is going right now,” Sadia tells me.

Work From Home? Not Really!

Due to the lockdown, a lot of companies have allowed their employees to work from home but many have decided to stay back and not return home not because of COVID-19 but because of 2G internet. Moazam Farhan, an IT Professional is one such person, who chose to stay back.

“BSNL refuses broadband connections just because they say they have run out of number of ports available for the broadband connection.”
Moazam Farhan, an IT Professional

Moazam knows many other Kashmiris who live in his locality and have not gone home.

Despite the Supreme Court asking the Centre to form a committee to consider demands for restoration of 4G in J&K, we don’t know when we would be able to search the world wide web like others.

(All 'My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)

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Published: 15 Jun 2020, 12:57 PM IST

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