Indonesia Postpones Broadband Project Once Again

Few people would expect to get both superfast and cheap Internet access everywhere across an archipelago as vast as Indonesia, but residents of the digitally remote eastern provinces are going to have to keep on waiting even for a rudimentary broadband service. Financial woes are forcing not only a reduction in the number of areas to be covered by a network of affordable, high-speed broadband, but also causing delays in its construction. The government on Friday said that almost 75 percent of the project’s funding had been slashed, and would yet again postpone it, this time until mid-October. Gatot S Dewabroto, spokesman for the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology said the project needed to cut its previously planned budget of $700 million to $185 million after four of the seven members of the consortium involved pulled out. The project, if it materializes, will serve as the backbone for Indonesia’s telecommunication infrastructure and provide affordable, quality Internet access. The fiber-optic network would cover all eastern Indonesian provinces. About 11,202 kilometers of cable were originally planned to run underwater and below ground, but this figure will be reduced to just 4,458 kilometers. Seven Indonesian telecommunication operators agreed in July 2007 to collaborate on the 5-year Palapa Ring project that would bring the Internet to a vast region encompassing Sulawesi, Maluku, Papua and East and West Nusa Tenggara. Currently, only three of the consortium members and $150 million in investment remain.

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