The Jakarta Post
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has announced that his administration will allocate Rp 30.5 trillion (US$2.06 billion) in the 2021 state budget for information and communication technology (ICT) development, as it aims to aid digital transformation in public services and to improve the country’s connectivity inclusion.
“The budget is to be used for accelerating digital transformation for governance and providing fast and efficient public services,” he said during his annual state of the nation address and financial note speech at the House of Representatives on Friday.
He went on to say that improving connectivity could enhance the efficiency of services in the education, health and government sectors.
The ICT development is also expected to push for connectivity inclusion by providing internet access to around 4,000 villages and subdistricts in Indonesia’s outermost, frontier and least developed (3T) areas.
The Communications and Information Ministry stated in June that approximately 12,500 villages in the country did not have access to the internet.
The number of internet users in the country stood at 175.4 million people, with a penetration rate of 64 percent, as of January this year, according to the latest DataReportal report on Indonesia.
Despite the high number of internet users, Indonesia’s penetration rate lags behind its Southeast Asian peers as Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam have exceeded 70 percent penetration.
Jokowi added that the budget would also be allocated through the village funds, which means village administrations can undertake the task of procuring infrastructure and internet service providers (ISPs).
The development of connectivity infrastructure is also among the programs that are part of the government’s overall infrastructure allocation of Rp 414 trillion in the 2021 state budget.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that the availability and the functionality of digital infrastructure have become essential and strategic,” he said.
The ongoing health crisis has pushed schools, offices and shops to operate online, as the government imposes social restrictions in various areas to contain the virus transmission.
Last year, Indonesia finished building its Palapa Ring broadband project, a 35,000-kilometer fiberoptic network throughout the archipelago.
Jokowi said at the time that the project would hopefully be able to bring justice to all Indonesian citizens and allow them access to high-speed connectivity.