Abdul Khalik, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
In a bid to enable Indonesia to become a producer of information and communications technology (ICT), the government has studied several sites across the country to be developed into what is being touted as a ""cyber city"".
State Minister for Research and Technology Kusmayanto Kadiman said on Tuesday that the study showed that the Jababeka Industrial Estate in Cikarang, West Java, topped the list of the most suitable places for the country's first ICT center as it met almost all the criteria.
""We prefer Jababeka (over other areas) as it has the necessary infrastructure, including a power plant, water treatment facilities and quality human resource from top universities to support the development of a cyber city,"" Kusmayanto said.
The Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) and the University of Indonesia have opened branches in Jababeka, located some 35 kilometers east of Jakarta.
Kusmanto said Jababeka had over 1,100 corporate tenants that could utilize research facilities in the cyber city.
All that Jababeka was missing was sufficient bandwidth, the minister said.
Kusmanto said that Jababeka has allocated 300 hectares for the planned ICT developments.
To realize the plan, Kusmayanto said that the government was now preparing a business proposal to be submitted to Microsoft, inviting the company to set up its fifth research center in the country.
""We will offer what we have to them. And I have devoted one chapter to the location of the ICT project, including the attractions of Jababeka,"" he said.
Kusmayanto said that Microsoft had set several requirements before it would be willing to open a research center.
He said that these included security, distance and access to and from Jakarta, and the quality of human resources.
Kusmayanto said that he believed that Indonesia could fulfill all the requirements.
""I hope that by the end of this year, the proposal will have been approved by Microsoft. The President has supported us so far,"" he said.
However, a Microsoft public relations officer, Cynthia Iskandar, said that what the company was hoping for was a proposal for research collaboration with universities and not a proposal to establish a Microsoft research center.
PT Microsoft Indonesia is offering internships at the Microsoft Research Center Asia in Beijing to students and lecturers from the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) and the Surabaya Institute of Technology.
Microsoft Indonesia also denied an earlier report that it would set up a fifth research center in Indonesia, after establishing earlier ones in the U.S., UK, China and India.
Jababeka's president director Setyono Djuandi Darmono said that the estate had world-class infrastructure and the necessary human resources to become an ICT center and later develop into a cyber city.