Low speed Internet connectivity adds to peoples’ frustrations, troubles
Srinagar, Feb 08: “It is frustrating, nauseating and waste of time.” This is what people across the social and economic spectrum in Kashmir say about the 2G mobile Internet connectivity currently being provided to the users after an almost six month shutdown.
The 4th generation cellular data had been closed in the Valley on the midnight of 4th of August by the government to avoid destabilization of peace.
The lockdown followed scrapping of the special status Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and 35-A, and slicing it into two territories directly under the command of the central government.
“The cellular network 2G is frustrating,” said Danish-un-Nabi, manager operations, Noora Hospital Sringar. “Yeh na honay kay barabar hay (it is like no connectivity). We cannot send test reports to our patients who used to receive them by mail or whats-app,” he said.
Referring to a recent fatality because of the absence of fast speed Internet in Kashmir, Danish said “we had a patient with kidney problem in our vicinity. His tissue was sent outside the valley for biopsy examination. The report could not be downloaded due to the low speed. By the time the report was accessed through the traditional postal services, the disease of the patient had reached the terminal end.”
Danish said that Noora Hospital used to collect samples from the outdoor patients at their homes and report them the results through Internet. The reports can’t be downloaded under the existing low speed, he said.
Doctors, according to Danish, in most of the hospitals in rural areas are in anguish because of the low speed Internet. “The 2G restoration has not solved their problem of availing expert advice from their counterparts on the complicacies of their patients,” Danish said.
The academicians call the second generation Internet as a nauseating experience.
Dr Reyaz Qureshi, Assistant Professor, Travel and Hospitality Management Studies, University of Kashmir, said that all the educational institutions from primary to university level are directly dependent on Internet.
The 2G mobile data restoration is useless exercise as the speed is extremely slow. The access has also been limited to a select group of sites by the government, he said.
“The world has long decommissioned the 2nd generation net. How do you expect our children to download data and other information under this constricted type of Internet? It takes them hours together to see their mails,” said the academician.
Asked about the lease line broad band facility in the university, he said its access is restricted to the Vice-Chancellor and a select group of officers. Students and scholars are not entitled to use it, he said.
The kind of annoyance and frustration the students in Kashmir are subjected to by the government is one of the reasons for their “radicalization”.
Sheema, a student in the Mass Communications said that she is leaving for Punjab to get her internship completed.
Kashmir Kesar Mart, a leading dry fruit and saffron processing and export enterprise in city had shifted its back-end operations to Delhi after the Internet shutdown in August here. Anticipating that the restoration of Internet might cut down their expenses in Delhi, the company came back to Kashmir. However now it too is aghast over the slow speed Internet here.
Noor-ud-Din, chief executive of the company, said “a lot of time is wasted in communicating through the electronic mail system in Kashmir. We need quick mechanisms so as to carry our business operations smoothly.”
The volume of Noor’s business has already squeezed because of the existing recession across the country. Regulated Internet is further complicating the situation, he said.
Limited 2G Internet for more than 60 lakh mobiles was restored in Kashmir in the last week of January with access limited to just 301 sites on the worldwide web.
The white list websites included email services, education-related websites, job platforms, banking, entertainment and sports websites.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Friday announced the extension of the 2G mobile data service in the union territory till February 15.
The users hope that high-speed Internet will be restored to calm down tempers of the people who have been subjected to frustrating and nauseating experience through second generation net.
They also do not buy government claims that Internet is being used by militants to carry out “terrorist” activities and create law and order issues.
“Don’t they (militants) use roads, electricity, water and air? Does it mean all these basic facilities and prerequisites of life should be closed down also,” people question.