Technical snags delay broadband restoration; Can’t block over 4.5 lakh websites: Officials

Purchased firewall equipment being monitored at New Delhi; Can’t declare exact dates of restoration

Srinagar: Technical snags have delayed the much-awaited broadband restoration in Kashmir as officials are facing problems in blocking blacklisted websites.

Officials said they were facing difficulties in blacklisting 2.5 lakh sites as directed by the J&K administration.

“If the government directs us to blacklist a few hundred sites that will be easier but white listing few dozen sites is problematic for the department,” they said.

The officials said white listing a few hundred websites caused ‘headache’ to the government’s IT experts working on the much-hyped firewall equipment.

“We usually access 2.5-3 lakh websites but blocking lakhs of websites is a very difficult task,” an official said.

He said presently they had been able to block social media websites and were now facing difficulties in blocking black listed websites.

Officials said if the firewall equipment would be installed, the speed of broadband would decrease.

“The much-awaited equipment is being currently monitored at New Delhi and will take some time to be installed in J&K,” they said.

“The processing for broadband restoration in Kashmir was likely to take more than one to two week,” the officials said. “There is least possibility of restoring broadband with such conditions.”

Authorities in J&K had allowed access to over 481 websites including those of government, e-commerce, banks and other essential services.

Officials said Kashmir would become first place in the world where such a huge number of websites would be blocked.

“We are working to resolve the issue as soon as possible,” they said.

Rising Kashmir had reported that Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has bought firewall equipment worth Rs 4 crore to block social media sites in Kashmir.

On August 5, Government of India (GoI), abrogated Article 370 and snapped all communication lines in the Valley to “maintain law and order” in the region.

However, J&K administration last week decided to continue restrictions on internet services on mobile phones till February 15 citing its misuse though Virtual Private Network (VPN) to help carry out militant activities in the Valley.

The broadband services in Kashmir continue to remain suspended for the past six months.

The ban has crippled all activities related to its usage with business and academics facing the major crisis due to internet absence in Valley. (RK)

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