Numerous regions across the diverse Indonesian archipelago grapple with the challenge of acquiring access to essential information and effective communication due to the inherent difficulties in securing reliable internet connectivity. Consequently, the government has made it a central priority to address this issue comprehensively. The ambitious goal set forth is to ensure that every village throughout the nation is seamlessly integrated into the digital landscape, boasting internet connectivity by the year 2025.
This strategic initiative was unveiled by the Telecommunications and Information Accessibility Agency (BAKTI), an integral component of the Ministry of Communication and Information, Indonesia.
Speaking on this matter, Fadhilah Mathar, the Director of BAKTI, articulated the commitment to this vision, emphasizing that by 2025, all residential villages will not only be encompassed by cellular networks but will significantly prioritize internet accessibility. This commitment signifies a multifaceted approach that encompasses a spectrum of programs aimed at strengthening the internet infrastructure across the nation.
These programs span from broadening internet access to the construction of advanced 4G Base Transceiver Stations (BTS). This year, they’ve set their sights on erecting approximately 5,000 BTS towers, an ambitious undertaking that seeks to address the prevailing connectivity gaps.
This targeted number, which represents a reduction from the initial count of 7,904 towers, reflects the intricacies faced in the past, notably stemming from legal issues that ensnared the former CEO of BAKTI, Anang Achmad Latif, who was suspected of engaging in corrupt activities, alongside the former Minister of Communication and Information, Johnny G. Plate.
Presently, their foremost priority centers on revamping the operational framework of BAKTI, recognizing that a robust governance structure forms the cornerstone upon which these far-reaching objectives can be realized.
It’s imperative to underline that the expansion of 4G BTS construction is not just an operational facet but a strategic imperative directly sanctioned by President Joko Widodo, underscoring its pivotal role in fostering equitable digital access.
Fadhilah Mathar reported, “BTS installations have been successfully completed in 4,343 villages, all poised to go live in 2023.” This tangible progress is a testament to the unwavering commitment to closing the digital divide.
Parallelly, the imminent launch of the Satria-1 satellite is poised to offer a sustainable solution to areas where terrestrial digital connectivity falls short. The satellite is engineered to serve approximately 37,000 public facilities, thereby surmounting the limitations faced by regions unable to access terrestrial digital connectivity.
Furthermore, Budi Arie Setiadi, the Minister of Communication and Information, reaffirmed that the equitable distribution of internet access stands as one of the linchpins in actualizing Indonesia’s Vision 2045, a comprehensive framework that envisions the nation’s holistic progress.
In emphasizing the criticality of this objective, Budi Arie Setiadi referenced a Google research study, which underscores the correlation between enhanced internet speed and economic growth. For every ten percent increase in internet speed, a commensurate one percent growth in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is achieved. This underlines the momentous role that accelerating internet speed plays in propelling the national economy forward.
However, Budi Arie Setiadi also acknowledged that Indonesia lags behind many other countries in terms of internet speed. The current average internet speed in Indonesia stands at approximately 22 Mbps, whereas more advanced nations consistently achieve speeds of 100 Mbps or even higher.
This disparity can be attributed to Indonesia’s unique geographical character, characterized not only by its vast expanse, stretching from Sabang to Merauke, but also by its diverse and challenging topography. While urban areas can compete favorably in terms of internet speed with other nations, rural areas face substantial room for improvement.
He further expounded that Indonesia’s unique geographic characteristics pose distinct challenges for infrastructure development, especially in the realm of telecommunications. As a result, the selection of technologies is diverse and contingent upon geographic attributes. Fiber optics predominantly serve urban areas, while rural regions are accommodated through satellite-based connectivity, which offers adaptability to varying geographical conditions.
Survey data from the Indonesian Internet Service Providers Association (APJII) in 2023 divulges critical insights into internet penetration trends. Notably, the penetration rate has reached 78.19 percent, exhibiting growth from the 2022 figure of 77.02 percent. This upward trajectory highlights the overall expansion of internet usage within the population.
When this data is extrapolated, it becomes evident that a considerable portion of the Indonesian population, totaling 215,626,156 individuals, has internet access out of a population of 275,773,901.
However, it’s important to note that there are significant disparities in terms of internet penetration. Urban areas exhibit a higher penetration rate of 87.55 percent, while rural regions follow closely at 79.79 percent, showcasing the nation’s rapid overall progress in bridging this digital divide. Yet, the province of Papua, within the vast Indonesian archipelago, records the lowest internet penetration rate at 63.15 percent, with the Papua Pegunungan province charting the lowest penetration rate at 42.57 percent.
This multifaceted undertaking, spanning from infrastructure development to legal reform, highlights the government’s steadfast commitment to ensuring that no corner of the Indonesian nation is left behind in the digital age.
In doing so, the aspiration is to create a more inclusive and connected society, propelling Indonesia toward a future marked by equitable access to digital resources and transformative opportunities for all its citizens.