Jakarta. Close to 197 million, or 74 percent, of the Indonesian population, have used the internet this year, up 8.9 percent from last year, as the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated online learning usage among students and people in remote areas, a survey by the Indonesian Internet Service Providers Association, or APJII, showed on Monday.
In the second quarter last year, the number of internet users in Indonesia was 171.2 million, or 64.8 percent of the country's 267 million population, APJII survey showed. The association surveyed from June 2 to June 25, interviewing 7,000 randomly selected respondents. The survey results have a margin of error of 1.27 percent.
Most survey respondents said they used the internet more than eight hours a day to access social media, chat applications, banking, entertainment, and online shopping. The majority of respondents said they are most exposed to educational content on the internet.
"That is related to online learning during the corona pandemic," Hendri Kasyfi, APJII's secretary-general, said on Monday.
Since March, the government has required schools to hold the class online as part of a concerted attempt to keep the novel coronavirus spreading. The Finance Ministry has set aside Rp 7.21 trillion in subsidies to provide free mobile internet access for students across Indonesia.
Java made up 56.4 percent of the internet users this year, up from 55.7 percent are a year ago. Sumatra showed an increase to 22.1 percent and Sulawesi to 7 percent, from 21.6 and 5.2 percent respectively last year. Share of internet users in Kalimantan dropped to 6.3 percent from 6.6 percent, in Maluku and Papua 3 percent from 10.9 percent, while stagnated in Bali and Nusa Tenggara at 5.2 percent.
Hendri said the decline in Kalimantan, Maluku, and Papua's share was more about faster user growth in Java than the islands' lack of expansion. He said he expected program from the Communication and Information Technology Ministry would boost the number of internet users in eastern Indonesia next year.
The ministry has been working to connect all of the villages and urban wards in Indonesia to broadband internet by 2022. According to the ministry data, 12,548 out of 74,957 villages and urban wards in the country have yet to connect to 4G mobile internet service.
"I think there will be significant changes in eastern Indonesia next year due to the Ministry's program," he said.
Still, the ministry had to do their homework in educating Indonesians about using the internet. APJII survey showed 10 percent of the respondents did not use the internet because they do not know how to use it.
Also, the device Indonesians used to connect to the internet has also changed. As many as 73.2 percent of internet users admit that they have never connected to the internet via a desktop computer anymore. Meanwhile, 95.4 percent of internet users use smartphones to connect to the internet.