This op-ed article contributed by a LIRNEasia associate, places more emphasis than we would on fixed wireless as a means for achieving broadband in Indonesia. This could possibly be because the author is immersed in European policy thinking, having been educated in Sweden and now working for the EU in Spain. But nevertheless it is a valuable contribution to policy discourse. And it comes at the right time, just as President Jokowi gets to work. The background document, funded under a Ford Foundation project, is here.
The big question is: Will the infrastructure development be implemented according to the plan in the IBP? Telkom is the only company committing to build the backbone connection based on the IBP document. However, given the recent macroeconomic turbulence (weaker exchange rates) and the fact that the vast majority of Telkom’s revenue is generated from Telkomsel (60 to 70 percent), the milestones in the project’s schedule might face some uncertainty; even including those projects that have been completed in Maluku and Papua.
In addition, the government’s Telecommunications and Informatics Funding Provision Management Agency (BP3TI) is currently under scrutiny following some suspicions concerning the procurement of Internet service centers. The projects were initially USO programs aimed at increasing Internet penetration in rural areas. This factor has further delayed the second phase of the Palapa Ring tender, which is one of the IBP’s flagships. As these cases are currently being investigated in the courts, the communications ministry has also decided to reassess the program.