PT Len Telekomunikasi Indonesia and its subsidiary, PT Len Industri, are working on the project.
"The Palapa Ring will provide new business opportunities for small and medium industry enterprises (SMEs) in remote areas," the minister said in a press release received by ANTARA here on Tuesday.
The Palapa Ring will facilitate education delivery by providing internet facility. It will also help the region shift to digital economy, the minister added.
He observed that the project reflected the keenness of the government in implementing strategic infrastructure projects as stated in the Presidential Decree Number 3/2016.
The project is being implemented under the Government-Enterprises Cooperation Scheme.
With the groundbreaking ceremony, the construction process has begun. It is being led by the state-owned enterprise, PT. Len Telekomunikasi Indonesia, and will take 18 months.
The project envisages setting up of an internet infrastructure by laying 2,700 kilometers of cable with a total investment of Rp.1.38 trillion (US$ 102.7 million) with a concession period of 15 years.
Meanwhile, PT Len Industris spokesman Dony Gunawan stated that Palapa Ring involved a superhighway submarine fiber optic network that will connect to districts/cities not hitherto connected by other telecommunication operators.
"This project will connect 17 cities/districts in East Kalimantan, North Sulawesi, Central Sulawesi, Southeast Sulawesi and North Maluku," he underlined.
The Palapa Ring in East Kalimantan province will reach Mahakam Ulu district, while in North Sulawesi province, it will reach Sangihe, Talaud and Siau-Tagulandang-Biaro islands.
In Central Sulawesi province, it will reach four districts, namely Morowali, Banggai Islands, Banggai Laut and North Morowali.
Meanwhile, the Palapa Ring connectivity in the Southeast Sulawesi province will reach six districts of Muna, North Konawe, North Buton, Konawe Islands, West Muna and Central Buton, while in North Maluku, it will reach Morotai Island, Taliabu Island and Tidore.(*)