Jakarta. State-owned telecommunications service provider Telkom Indonesia has provided free Wi-Fi access in 157 locations in Palu and surrounding areas in Central Sulawesi and handed out 1,000 SIM cards to police officers and volunteers to help coordinate recovery efforts in the aftermath of last month's devastating earthquake and tsunami.
Central Sulawesi Police spokesman Adjutant Chief Comr. M. Haritsuddin thanked Telkom for its help in restoring the telecommunications network in the affected areas.
"We're very thankful for Telkom's quick response to restore phone and internet connections in Central Sulawesi," Haritsuddin said in a press release on Oct. 3.
"[Police] posts in Palu currently have access to phone services and the internet. This makes it easier for posts and officers in the field to communicate," he said.
Zulhelfi Abidin, director of network and IT solutions at Telkom, said communication is crucial in the aftermath of a major disaster to enable people to contact family members, coordinate search and rescue efforts, and keep the public informed, thus the restoration of the communications network was the company's top priority.
Telkom provided subscribers Central Sulawesi with a special plan with free phone calls and text messages for a week. Subscribers can activate the plan by dialing *888*20# on their cellphones.
Telkom network director Bob Apriawan said the company would continue its efforts to repair communication infrastructure in Central Sulawesi.
"Telkom's network is currently at 70 percent capacity. Services such as phone calls and text messages are functioning normally, while the 4G data network is currently still being restored in areas directly affected by the disaster, such as Palu, Donggala and Luwuk," Bob said.
Telkom and seven other state-owned enterprises – Perusahaan Listrik Negara, Pertamina, Pelabuhan Indonesia IV, Bank Rakyat Indonesia, Bank Mandiri, Bank Negara Indonesia and Bank Tabungan Negara – have focused their efforts on helping victims of the disaster through a special disaster response program.
Two metric tons of rice, 21 tents and 100 boxes of instant noodles, as well as baby formula, diapers and medicine, have so far been dispatched to Palu under the program, with more to follow soon.
Telkom and other state-owned companies are currently coordinating with the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) and the Central Sulawesi government to distribute the aid.