The Jakarta Post
The government will spend Rp 2.7 trillion (US$207 million) on broadband infrastructure projects as part of its efforts to close the gap in internet access between rural and urban areas across Indonesia.
The Palapa Ring projects aim to lay out 4,700 kilometers of undersea fibre-optic cable as the backbone for the nation's telecommunications system.
The project will be divided into two parts, namely the western package, which will cover Riau, and the central package, which comprises Kalimantan, Sulawesi and North Maluku.
Communications and Information Minister Rudiantara said on Friday the eastern package, which will cover areas in East Nusa Tenggara, Maluku, West Papua and Papua, would soon begin.
He said the three projects were scheduled to be completed by 2018 and the facility would be ready for use in early 2019.
When the new infrastructure is fully operational, it is expected that more households will be able to enjoy faster internet connections. According to the Indonesian Internet Providers Association (APJII), out of a population of 250 million, only 88 million had access to the internet in 2014. Poor infrastructure has been blamed for the extremely slow internet connection in the country.
A report by Akamai Technologies, a leading US-based content delivery network, showed that the internet speed in the country averaged 1.3 megabites per second in 2014.
The Communication and Information Ministry has signed two contracts for the western and central packages. The western package, worth Rp 1.3 trillion, will go to the Moratel Triasmitra consortium. The central package, worth Rp 1.4 trillion, will be handled by the Pandawa Lima consortium. The eastern package is still in the pre-qualification stage.
Palapa Ring is the first project operating under a joint government and business cooperation agreement in the telecommunications sector. (sha/ebf)
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