After more than a year of suspension of high-speed mobile internet services in Jammu and Kashmir, two districts of the union territory had their 4G internet restored, on Sunday night. The Jammu and Kashmir administration notified that the internet services will recommence in the Ganderbal district of Kashmir and Udhampur district of Jammu, which would be effective from 9 pm Sunday and will remain in force till September 8 on trial basis, with subject to modification. But the speed of the internet in rest of the districts in J&K will continue to be limited to 2G only.
The order circulated by the Jammu and Kashmir Home Department asserted that only post-paid subscribers will be supplied with high-speed internet. The pre-paid customers would have to complete a mandatory verification process to avail the benefit of the services. With reference to the fixed-line Internet connectivity, it said, “Internet connectivity, without any speed related restrictions, shall continue to be made available with mac-binding.”
After the 2G internet services were made available on January 25, the Supreme Court had asked the Jammu and Kashmir administration to explore the possibility of restoring 4G services in certain areas, earlier this month. The apex court on May 11 had directed for constituting a committee that would go into the possibilities of restoring high-speed Internet in the union territory. But an NGO filed a plea in the apex court pursuing the initiation of contempt proceedings against the Union Home Secretary and the Chief Secretary of JK for their alleged “wilful disobedience” in complying with the court’s May 11 order.
The telecom services in Jammu and Kashmir were banned since 5th August, last year, when the special status of J&K was revoked. There was a complete communication blackout issued by the central government, due to the abrogation of Article 370. By relying on the principles of proportionality under Article 19(2), the Court held that indefinite suspension of the internet is not permissible and the services were partially restored five months later, in January.