Indonesian Government is dealing with development challenges in Papua, especially on communication and information technology sector. So far, the concerns are the telecommunication access that has not reached all areas in Papua yet and the institutions that work in this sector has not been supporting public information disclosure optimally.
Currently, as we are all facing COVID-19 pandemic, communication development is more urgently required in the land of Cenderawasih birds. Below is some information regarding the issue of communication and information technology sector in the region.
Challenges on Communication & Information Technology in Papua
Nowadays, the telecommunications network in Papua has spread throughout the capital city, districts and cities, but is still limited in remote areas with difficult access. Geographical challenges and the number of subscribers incomparable with the costs incurred make Telkomsel the only dominant telecommunication network provider in Papuan market with 4,461 BTS units.
Meanwhile, Indosat Ooredoo had only 137 BTS units and XL Axiata 46 BTS units in 2018. This explains why the existing network capacity in Papua is still very limited and the speed of internet data also remains slow.
Telkomsel as the operator that controls the market of telecommunications in Papua as of December 2016 has 1.78 million subscribers. In addition to that, Indihome in Papua were recorded to have had 7,155 subscribers with telephone lines reaching 28 thousand connection units.
Based on those conditions, the problems faced can be summarized as follows.
|Main Problems||Problem Formulation||
|1. The bureaucracy has not yet maximally provided public services in a transparent and accountable manner.
2. Information and communication services are not yet optimum.
|1. Provision of very limited and unbalanced telecommunication networks.
|1. Poor access to information and communication.
2. Low access to information technology-based networks.
3. The minimum capacity of the built BTS network.
4. The minimum capacity of maintained BTS networks.
5. Inadequate human resources in information and communication technology sector.
The Government Efforts in Improving on Papua’s Communication & Information Technology
There are several efforts taken by the government in supporting Papua’s communication development. Some of the main ones are school digitization and more infrastructures to support the improvement of internet service quality there.
The Ministry of Education and Culture (Kementerian Pendidikan & Kebudayaan/Kemendikbud) strives to continue to make education evenly distributed throughout Indonesia, including remote areas in Papua.
Along with technological developments, the Ministry of Education and Culture is developing a school digitization program in Papua Province which starts in Wamena, Jayawijaya Regency. Especially during the COVID-19 epidemic, school digitization is urgently needed as most students are required to study online from home.
This was marked by the visit of Minister of Education and Culture, Muhadjir Effendy, there in October 2019 to provide assistance in the form of tablet computers and other information and communication technology (ICT) equipment so that both teachers and students can easily access various digital learning sources.
There are two factors that need to be considered in facilitating the school digitization program. First, the reformation of learning methods should be introduced to both students and educators. Traditional ways of learning have been proven not adequate to accelerate holistic infrastructure in Papua.
Renewing student learning patterns means informing students that there are various learning sources apart from textbooks, including digital sources. Then, this also means encouraging them to adapt to new learning methods.
With school digitization, it is expected that the students can grow more innovative, creative and critical in the future. They are also hoped to be able to continue to develop as a generation that has sufficient abilities to anticipate the era of the industrial revolution 4.0.
The second factor is related to technical matters. Information technology and communication infrastructures have to be improved in Papua—especially in secluded areas, in order to support school digitization.
More ICT Infrastructures
In early 2020, the Telecommunication and Informatics Accessibility Agency of the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (Badan Aksesibilitas Telekomunikasi dan Informasi/BAKTI Kominfo) conducted a migration process for Internet Access Program Services from the VSAT network to Optical Fiber in West Papua Province.
However, migration is not yet available in all regions as soon as possible. One of the areas that have not been reached by the service via fiber optic is the Arfak Mountains within the district of Menyambauw, due to the wire-length limitation.
Thankfully, currently, the optical cable has been pulled to the district capital in West Papua. Thus, all the residents in the region can enjoy high-speed internet networks in the near future.
In addition to that, ICT development is expected to better local government performance through a number of e-government programs. The East Palapa Ring project initiated by the central government is expected to encourage improvements in regional financial governance through the application of e-planning, e-budgeting and so on.
East Palapa Ring project is also hoped to accelerate development in the sector of tourism and other businesses.
The existence of ICT network facilities reaching all regions in Papua can help promote not only the quality of human resources but also economic growth in the region. Hence, the affordability of internet service connectivity is very necessary. In order to reach that, the government need to prioritize on other aspects as well, such as security, speed, servers, good service system, also reliable human resources working in the field of ICT facilitation.