Fighting coronavirus with 2G internet speed
In rural areas outside Srinagar, where broadband connections are more sparse, slow mobile internet speeds have become a source of frustration
As the outbreak spread in China, cities were shut down, and foreign students were bombarded with messages from their families urging them to go home. The same thing happened in Kashmir when a lady got infected due to which the lockdown dropped its wings again in the unfortunate valley.
The August lockdown had not just involved physical restrictions but a complete communications blackout, with landlines, mobile connections, cable television, and internet connections snapped.
Seven months later, the Valley is still emerging from the blackout. Fixed-line broadband connections have been restored but only slow speed internet is allowed on mobiles. At least this time we have 2G and phone services are working. So, in a way, it’s a bit easier than in August. But I must say the overall economic impact will be similar because shops and business establishments are shut and it seems that the lockdown is unending.
In rural areas outside Srinagar, where broadband connections are more sparse, slow mobile internet speeds have become a source of frustration.
We can’t even download a photo on 2G speed. How are we supposed to watch those informative videos about precautions from scientists across the globe? 2G internet is as good as useless. As the Valley shuts down to fight the virus, demands for the restoration of 4G mobile internet have grown. Residents felt easy access to information would help contain the spread of the virus.
The episode that happened when a woman from old city area in Srinagar tested positive for Covid-19, it was the same internet that helped the administration to reach out to the public at large and reach out to the people.
The patient had a history of international travel and arrived in India on March 16. She has currently been put under isolation and surveillance, contact tracing was started in a 300-meter area. Heeding the news, the fear clutched the whole valley because doctors of Kashmir know they are ill-equipped to deal with a pandemic. Given the situation, residents of the valley fear the potentially disastrous consequences of the coronavirus pandemic after the first case.
Since then three more cases have reported positive for the deadly virus.
The region had been under a strict security and communication lockdown since August 5. The internet was restored earlier this month, but it remains slow as 4G services are still not allowed. People of the valley are still using 2G in this kind of trauma. If we can access 4G services, we shall get a lot of information around the COVID19.
As far as the talk is concerned schools, colleges and universities, which reopened last month after seven months of an earlier lockdown, have been shut again as people stock up on essential supplies in preparation for another lengthy period of isolation.
The fear over the pandemic is compounded by a feeling among Kashmiris that the administration is not being transparent with them.
Amid the alarming threat of the spread of COVID-19, Kashmir faces a crippling blockade of high-speed internet which has effectively hampered an effective awareness campaign among the people as well as among doctors.
High-speed internet services in the region have been blocked since August to prevent protests against the abrogation of the region’s autonomy.
From that time, we have been using the same services. This is undoubtedly so frustrating. Trying to download something. It really takes a lot of time to do so and for hours, we are not still able to do that. As of now, the ban of high-speed internet has also made it impossible for many in Kashmir to work from home, one of the important precautionary measures taken in many countries to contain the spread of the disease.
Let’s quarantine ourselves, and not come out of our homes, instead of forging commotion, help each other to combat this novel coronavirus by staying home and staying safe.
(The writer is a student of literature and contributes to ‘Kashmir Vision’)