Thousands of mobile phone users in Kashmir have lost access to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. This report came as a surprise especially as Government authorities in Kashmir had refused to ban popular websites after the recent ‘Anti-Islam’ activity in such sites became a topic of debate.
Recently many users have been approaching authorities with various complaints. GPRS service has also been blocked by several service providers from last week onwards. Even users having a secured broadband service connection have been complaining about the unavailability of websites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Google India recently decided to block an anti-Islam video which featured in YouTube. But users have complained the search engine giant has blocked the entire website instead of blocking only the anti-Islam video. Aga Sayed Rugullah, Minister for Science and Technology however clarified that no such ban is in place. One young man was quoted as saying, “I have not been able to avail myself of GPRS services for the last one week. Now, I cannot open Facebook or Twitter on my mobile.”
Reports indicate that this problem was caused with many service providers downgrading GPRS service in various parts of the country including Kashmir. Sources also report that service providers have downgraded from 3G to 2G without any warning or announcement. This is causing issues with the opening up of attachments and larger files on mobile devices.
It is only recently that DoT asked some of the telecom operators including Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone to stop offering 3G services across areas where they do not have bandwidth of their own. The three telecom operators signed an agreement which allowed its customers to enjoy 3G services in areas where any one of them holds the bandwidth. Government in response to this have issued a show-cause notice to the telecom operators asking them for stopping its 3G services in areas where it does not hold bandwidth.