Communication and Information Technology Minister Johnny G. Plate in a meeting with the Regional Legislative Council (DPD) at the House of Representatives in Jakarta in February. (Antara Photo/Galih Pradipta)

Indonesia Accelerates Digital Transformation to Meet Pandemic Demand


MAY 06, 2020

Jakarta. Communication and Information Technology Minister Johnny G. Plate said Indonesia is forced to accelerate its digital transformation during the coronavirus pandemic since many people are now stuck at home under large-scale social restrictions and need faster internet to work and study.

"The pandemic has forced us to accelerate the digital transformation. We're playing catch-up with the pandemic's impacts," Johnny said in a teleconference with the Regional Legislative Council's (DPD) Committee I in Jakarta on Tuesday.

The minister said before the pandemic, most of the country's internet connection was taken up by offices, schools, university campuses, malls, shops and high-rise apartments.

Most of those facilities are located in the cities. 

However, since the pandemic began in Indonesia in early March, more demand for internet access has been coming from households, including those in country areas.

This has forced operators to build new infrastructure to provide internet connection in sub-districts, villages and remote areas. 

"We're entering a new era, the era of digitalization, during this pandemic," Johnny said. 

The Communication and Information Technology Ministry will continue to improve the country's internet network and launch new satellites to speed up the digital transformation.

Currently, non-Palapa Ring operators have built 336,294 kilometers of fiber optic backbone network while Palapa Ring operators have built 12,148 kilometers. 

A total of 224,573 kilometers of inland cable have also been installed plus 123,869 kilometers of the Cable Communication System (SKKL) network. 

"The fiber optic backbone has reached almost all of Java, and is beginning to enter big cities in Sumatra, Kalimantan and Sulawesi. The Palapa Ring network is already available in Papua," Johnny said.

The minister said a microwave link network as an extension of the fiber optic backbone is already in use in Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Maluku and Papua.

According to Johnny, Indonesia currently has nine satellites and will add two new ones soon.

The nine satellites consist of six telecommunications satellites and three earth exploration satellites.

The two new satellites will be launched in 2023.

"Satellites are the perfect solution to provide more powerful internet connection in a country with challenging geographies like ours," Johnny said.