J&K begins process to provide high-speed broadband access to all villages

As Internet connectivity remains a major issue in conflict-ridden Jammu and Kashmir, the UT administration has started an exhaustive exercise to provide high-speed broadband access to all villages in J&K under the National Broadband Mission (NBA).

The project envisages the socio-economic development of people across the Union Territory.

Under the project, the administration has planned to provide over 4,000 Gram Panchayats high-speed optical fibre connectivity.

For this purpose, the UT administration has constituted a high-level panel to be headed by the Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam, and comprises administrative secretaries of four major departments as members. The panel would ensure implementation and realise the objectives as envisaged in the NBA.

The panel has been mandated to advice, either suo-moto or on a request from the governing council or steering committee, on the matters relating to accomplishment of the objectives of the mission concerning Jammu and Kashmir.

It would also facilitate implementation of the guidelines issued by the governing council or steering committee, enabling expansion of broadband services for the socio-economic development of people of the UT, besides monitoring and evaluating the work of the mission pertaining to Jammu and Kashmir.

According to official data, Jammu and Kashmir has 6,374 villages spread over 4,000 gram panchayats — nearly 40 per cent of them still lack basic infrastructure like roads, water and electricity.

Pertinently, Jammu and Kashmir has been without high speed mobile Internet since August 5 last year when the Centre abrogated Article 370 and 35-A, and re-organised the erstwhile J&K state by dividing it into two UTs — J&K and Ladakh.

The people have been demanding restoration of high speed Internet arguing that it has not only affected their business but also adversely impacted the studies of students in the UT.