Indonesia began on Monday the construction of a 1,041 kilometer-long fiber optic cable connecting Mataram and Kupang; a milestone in the development of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure for the country’s eastern regions.
The construction of the Mataram-Kupang Cable System is fully-funded by state-run telecommunications firm PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Telkom), and is scheduled to be completed by November 2010.
Telkom president director Rinaldi Firmansyah said during the inauguration ceremony for the project the cable system would be part of a 10,812 kilometer-long fiber optic cable that would connect Sulawesi, Nusa Tenggara, Maluku and Papua – major islands in eastern Indonesia.
He said it was also part of the larger Palapa Ring fiber optic project, aimed at connecting all the country’s 33 provinces and over 450 regencies and municipalities.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who officiated the project, said it was an important move to connect the entire parts of the country and boost economic growth evenly across the regions.
Learning from the recent global economic crisis, he reiterated that Indonesia should strengthen its domestic economy instead of relying on exports to maintain growth.
“Therefore we need support, including ICT support. We hope the construction of ICT infrastructure will enter all sectors and reach all regions.
“It’s not good that while our big cities are connected to the world outside, they are not connected to other islands in the East, such as Sulawesi, Kalimantan, Nusa Tenggara, and Papua,” Yudhoyono said.
He added that in the next 10 years ICT development would be focused on supporting “three main sectors”, i.e. governance, education and businesses.
Yudhoyono, witnessed by several Cabinet ministers, officially opened the Mataram-Kupang Cable System construction project from the Presidential Palace in Jakarta.
The construction itself, however, began in the West Nusa Tenggara capital of Mataram, and was witnessed by Rinaldi, Information and Communications Minister Tifatul Sembiring, and West Nusa Tenggara Governor Muhammad Zainul Madjdi.