Srinagar: Trying to access YouTube videos for learning how to make new dishes, struggling to watch your favourite series on Netflix, unable to install a video conferencing app to connect to your classroom: These and many other such scenarios are what Kashmiris encounter each day as low speed internet proves a disappointment in the times of coronavirus.
While COVID19 cases see a daily spike in Kashmir, the valleyites are also coping with what can only be termed as “low-speed internet depression”. Yes, you heard it right–the anxiety emerging out of clicking and refreshing the same pages repeatedly.
Not only has this virus contracted the young tech savvy generation of Kashmir, students, homemakers, entrepreneurs, musicians, artists and academicians too are facing this ordeal.
“Majority of the population is under house arrest and the barrage of COVID19 information has terrorized the people. To get away from it, people are trying different means to relax and internet is one of the mediums but when that too works at snail’s pace, you are back to the square one,” said Sajad Ahmad, who works as an Android developer with a Mumbai based IT company.
For Sajad, who works from home now, 2G internet speed in Kashmir can prove a dead-end for his career.
“Developing something on low-speed internet is not only tiresome but it’s near impossible for developers like him. To be honest, I have become crippled here. I fear losing this job if I couldn’t find a faster connection,” he said.
Not only is the slow internet speed hampering the work of IT professionals, most of the smartphone-glued youth are also frustrated because of it.
For instance, the plight of PUBG gamers of Kashmir. Slow internet speed simply cripples the game which is a favourite among hundreds and thousands of youth who connect to each other via this virtual battleground.
“We are not able to play games like PUBG, Call of Duty, Standoff 2 at this speed. Because of lockdown, we are stuck at home and the best way is to be busy with it. But this speed is literally frustrating, so much so that we feel like throwing our phones out of the window when a game lags,” said Nadeem Ahmad, a PUBG lover.
Away from the world of games are those who love to cook while sitting at home. But they too seem to be a worried lot in these times. They are not able to access the cookery websites and videos.
“We are not able to follow and watch our favourite chefs preparing home recipes on their YouTube channels at this speed. For watching one video, it takes us hours,” said Saima Syed, a homemaker in Srinagar.
She said they are following YouTube channels like “Kashmiri Food Fusion”, “Cooking with Shabana”, “Cooking with Lubna” and Home Cooking Shows among others.
And then there are those who struggle to access Netflix, Amazon Prime, Voot and other Over-the-top entertainment platforms they have long subscribed for.
“The only way to keep your mind diverted from watching and reading depressing news on COVID19 is to watch some refreshing stuff. But on 2G speed it’s very difficult. Government should think about it,” said Tahir Bhat, a school teacher in Srinagar.
The J&K administration on April 3 extended the ban on high-speed 4G mobile internet till April 15 citing the new domicile law as one of the reasons, in spite of the rights groups and civil society members demanding its restoration in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak.