Jakarta. Indonesia recorded 143.26 million internet users last year, a 7.9 percent increase from 2016, a survey by the Indonesian Internet Service Providers Association, or APJII, has shown.
The survey, titled "Penetration and Behavior of Internet Users in Indonesia in 2017," which was published by APJII on Monday (19/02), categorized the country's internet users by age, education, economic status, devices they use, etc.
Despite the increase, however, the growth in the number of internet users has slowed, compared to 2016, when it was up 20.4 percent from 110.2 million in 2015.
APJII secretary general Henry Kasyfi Soemartono told reporters the growth rate slowed last year, as internet penetration in urban areas has been quite saturated, and telecommunication infrastructure needs to be revamped in rural areas, especially in the eastern part of the country, he said.
"The use of fiber optic installations in big cities is quite popular due to their advanced infrastructure, but in rural and rural-urban areas there are still challenges ... therefore a satellite internet connection can be an alternative," he said.
APJII employed a multistage cluster-sampling approach and conducted interviews to produce the survey. It was based on data collected from 2,500 internet users aged 13 and above, in six regions — Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi, Kalimantan, Bali-Nusa Tenggara and Maluku-Papua. The margin of error was 1.96 percent.
Internet Use Trends
According to the survey, about 44.16 percent of the respondents accessed the internet with their mobile phones, 39.28 percent used computers and mobile phones, while 4.49 percent used computers only. The study revealed that 89.35 percent of them used the internet for chatting, 87.13 percent to access social media, 74.84 percent to use search engines, 72.79 percent to view images, and 70.23 percent to download videos. Several features were usually accessed simultaneously.
The study covered urban areas (non-agricultural sector-based income), rural areas (agricultural sector-based income) and urban-rural areas (mixed income).
In urban areas, 72.41 percent of people had access to the internet, in rural-urban areas — 49.49 percent. In rural areas, the internet penetration rate stood at 48.25 percent.
Java Still Dominates
While nearly 55 percent of the country's population was connected to the internet in 2017, the island of Java had the highest penetration rate — 58.08 percent — followed by Sumatra (19.09 percent), Kalimantan (7.97 percent), Sulawesi (6.73 percent), Bali-Nusa Tenggara (5.63 percent) and Maluku-Papua (2.49 percent).
"The number of internet users will definitely increase this year, but to stimulate growth we must focus on rural areas, as they are still left behind ... We need to provide them with telecom infrastructure," Henry said.