Indonesia needs universal Internet access: World Bank economist

Indonesia needs universal Internet access: World Bank economist

Screenshot of World Bank Senior Economist Sailesh Tiwari speaking about Indonesia's digital connectivity at the virtual World Bank Indonesia Digital Report launch in Jakarta, Thursday, July 29, 2021. (ANTARA PHOTO/Sanya Dinda/KT)

Indonesia's large population creates inequality between regions, wherein only one-third of the adult population in Papua is connected to the Internet, as compared to more than 50 percent in Java and Bali
Jakarta (ANTARA) - World Bank Senior Economist Sailesh Tiwari has suggested Indonesia to boost digital connectivity and universal access, especially to half the population yet devoid of access to digital technology to reduce disparity.

Tiwari noted that the lack of digital access can create regional inequality since only 30 percent of the adults in Indonesia’s rural areas are connected to the Internet.

"Indonesia's large population creates inequality between regions, wherein only one-third of the adult population in Papua is connected to the Internet, as compared to more than 50 percent in Java and Bali," Tiwari remarked during a virtual World Bank Indonesia Digital Report in Jakarta, Thursday.

Home Internet services are essential for studying and work-related tasks, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but the number of people connected to broadband or high-speed Internet is yet very small.

Citing the World Bank data, Tiwari stated that 40 percent of the households admitted to the steep registration fees to be borne for high-speed Internet.

"This is the most important issue. At the global level, Indonesia is at the 131st position regarding Internet subscription fees, which means that costs are still a major issue for Indonesians, and it affects the broadband structure in Indonesia," he emphasized.

Hence, in order to boost digital connectivity, Tiwari highlighted three key recommendations, with the first being for the government to allocate the system for better mobile broadband.

"The intent here is how to implement analog switching with characteristics that align with the connectivity in rural areas, and high-frequency bands to remove networking barriers," he stated.

Under the second approach, Tiwari called on the Indonesian government to strengthen active and passive infrastructure networks, despite it affecting the investment costs for Internet service providers.

As per Tiwari’s third recommendation, Indonesia should consider implementing a unified system with regulators that will facilitate Internet service providers.

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