Jakarta. The Indonesian government has completed the construction of a massive, nationwide internet network using fiber-optic wires called the Palapa Ring, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said on Monday.
"Today I've officially launched the Palapa Ring network that connects the capitals of 514 districts and cities across Indonesia," Jokowi said at the State Palace in Jakarta.
The network will provide high-speed internet from Sabang in the west to Merauke in the east, from the northernmost island of Miangas to the southernmost island of Rote, the president said.
Jokowi said when he visited some remote areas in Indonesia, sometimes the reception was so bad he could hardly make a call on his cellphone.
"Even sending text messages took a long time, let alone videos. Phone calls often cut out as well," he said.
Now that the Palapa Ring has been launched, Jokowi plans to visit those remote areas again to test for himself if the network works as promised.
"I will visit Wamena, Biak, Nabire and Rote Ndao soon and put the network to the test. People there have complained about slow connection for years," Jokowi said.
The president also warned that information technology should never be used to spread hatred, hoaxes or fake news.
"We should never misuse digital technology. Never use it to spread hate speech, slander, hoaxes or fake news," the president said.
The Palapa Ring network was constructed in stages starting from the western region, which was completed in 2018. The central region's network was completed early this year. The eastern region, the last on the network, included 42 districts and cities in Papua, West Papua, Maluku and East Nusa Tenggara and was completed in August.
In some districts, where fiber optic could not be used, the government used giant antennas to expand the backbone network, Jokowi said.
Communication and Information Technology Minister Rudiantara said the Palapa Ring functions as a superhighway for high-speed internet, traversing every district and city across the country.
"Starting in August, every single one of the 514 districts and cities in this country is connected to the network. The backbone network was built by the Communication and IT Ministry in collaboration with our telecommunication operators," he said.