LIVE BLOG: Colloquium: WiFi Access Innovation case study

Posted on September 12, 2005  /  1 Comments

Divakar presents findings of his study that assesses the success of WiFi based expansion of Internet access and identifies the conditions that gave rise to this innovation in Indonesia.

DG: Indonesia is a challenging country to connect. 17000 islands. teledensity is 12%, compares poorly with its neighbors. Internet penetration is far lower than Asian average.
 So what has given rise to Wifi in Indonesia?

  • Regulatory conditions (non independent regulator, exclusivities, no local loop unbundling, etc.)
  • lack of competition in infrastructure sector (leading to very high prices and proliferation of unlicensed ISPs, etc)
  • extent of infrastructural development (uneven backbone development, leased-lines not available)
  • grassroots activism (lobbying to get 2.4GHz unlicensed, etc)

Lessons learnt:

  • hostile environment spawned Wifi and related innovations; can this be replicated without the baggage?
  • Wifi is quick and involves less hassle  in deployment; however it has some difficulties.
  • Wifi has not contributed to spread of Internet use in Indonesia; unless leased line prices are regulates or effective competition if introduces, Internet diffusion will remain slow.

HdeS: Wifi is a local solution, how can it lead to widespread Internet use?

DG: Wifi is being used for backhaul in Indonesia. It’s the next-best solution for a setting where the optimal doesn’t work.

So What can be replicated?

  • civil society role – training, etc.
  • Internet exchange

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