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)
- 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