In yet another effort to normalise situation in Jammu and Kashmir, the government has restored the 2G internet across all 20 districts of the Union Territory effective midnight, Saturday. This is the biggest breakthrough in internet connectivity in the region since August 5 last year when the government imposed restrictions on mobile internet in J&K after the abrogation of Article 370.
With 2G internet services restored, all post-paid and prepaid subscribers will get access to internet. However, access will be limited to 301 whitelisted websites. An order issued on Friday said that access will be limited to whitelisted sites only, not any social media applications.
Data services will be available on post-paid and prepaid mobile connections where the credentials have been identified. The communication facilities provided by the government by way of internet kiosks and e-terminals apart from special arrangement for tourists, students and traders will continue.
The directions will be effective from Saturday and will be in force till January 31 unless modified earlier, said an order issued by Shaleen Kabra, Principal Secretary, J&K government. The Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) shall continue with the process of verification of credentials of prepaid sim holders as per the norms applicable for post-paid connections, the order said.
The internet restrictions are being relaxed by the government in stages. On January 14, the government had announced that low-speed 2G mobile internet services shall be restored in two out 10 districts of the Kashmir Valley -- Bandipur and Kupwara -- and all the 10 districts of Jammu region for 153 whitelisted websites.
The move came after the Supreme Court asked the government to review the internet ban in J&K, calling it a part of Freedon of Speech as mentioned in the Constitution.