Papua, Telecommunication and Big Ambition

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Papua, – Papua, perhaps we know is a fairly large island cluster in Eastern Indonesia with tremendous natural wealth, until it is exploited by foreigners, one of them by Freeport who has recently been noisy with our government. The real island continues to fluctuate and needs attention.


Papua, there are still many things compared to where I was born and big to this day. Telecommunications is only one share.

I am writing this while working in an internet service company whose product is a satellite-based internet access whose antenna device is referred to as VSAT. VSAT is commonly used as a telecommunication device for inland areas. In Indonesia, the interior is too much, ranging from areas near mountains, islands to tide with neighboring countries. The company customers I work with now from the rural areas, where approximately 80-90% of customers come from this island group, which to fight for it to become ours for the full two decades, past the end of the Old Order to the New Order.

The position of the company where I work is now quite benefited with this telecommunication solution. Look at some of these VSAT cases that are the only “door” to see the outside world for customers. The tens of millions of coins for the cost of the device plus the cost of its internet package, flows from this passion. These are the constraints that support me and the size of 50-60 more employees and the owner of the company where I work. However, the feeling of heart is still unbearable when reading a lot of turmoil and needs that must be on the island.

Telecommunication constraints must occur when there is access to their VSAT internet access, which is sometimes not just internet access. For all coordination, of course want to use the phone. Meanwhile, the conditions in Indonesia are tortuous with the mountains and across the island that complicate the coordination, where sometimes there is a situation of loss contact because searching for the signal is difficult. Indeed, later know if Telkom and Telkomsel actually have expansion is quite serious compared to other telecommunication companies. Indihome (a triple play internet-phone-TV cable service from fiber optic-based Telkom) has entered Papua with SMPCS fiber optic cable (Sulawesi-Maluku-Papua Cable System). This I also observe from the contents of the public subscriber’s phone number is Sympathy.

However, this seriousness is still not too impact on internet connections in Papua that only up to an average of 300 Kbps, much different from in Jakarta that can up to 7 Mbps, according to data OpenSignal in 2016 ago. One customer once complained about this when I was about to send a file that required him to open an e-mail, while the VSAT himself had a problem. He has to ask me the size of the file I send, because if the file size is large, the connection will be very slow where he is using the cellular network. Luckily the file size is below 10 KB, so it’s okay to download the file.

The government is currently building a fiber-optic line called the Palapa Ring with a consortium of several private telecommunications companies. This path will also pass through Papua and is expected to be able to equalize the speed of internet connection in Papua with in Java. However, there are some important notes to be observed.


First, the project of “equality” of Papua with Java which recently proclaimed by president Joko Widodo actually is no longer relevant. Acceleration of infrastructure development, including the implementation of Palapa Ring, which is expected to equalize the position of cement prices to BBM in Papua with Java, will indeed help the acceleration of development in Papua itself. However, it is irrelevant that this acceleration should be equated with Java. This is because the geographic and demographic characteristics of Java with Papua are different. Population density, economic progress and all its different problems. There needs to be a different approach for Papua. Moreover, in fact we are late to understand and see Papua whose development is still slow and late more than 1 decade. This delay eventually made the added equation irrelevant.

This equation ultimately also provides a space of legitimacy and recognition that the government still prioritizes economic development in Java, until all economic developments in other islands, including in Papua must be equal to Java.

Secondly, there is the issue that the government must pay attention to, rather than focusing on price equations and the construction of lighthouse projects that feel no more than political elements as a reminder of the existence of a regime that may at times become a nostalgic substance again, such as the sense that once existed for the Suharto period (Which is oddly unwanted to re-present today, if the sons of President Soeharto like Tommy Suharto become president). Issues of human rights violations highlighted internationally, the issue of unreached Papuan indigenous health care, including all its problems such as the large numbers of people living with HIV / AIDS from the island to educational issues, it feels more to be solved for resolution than prioritizing development The lighthouse project and the deployment of fiber optic cables that sometimes can not reach the entire Papuan community evenly.

This does not mean the government’s intentions should not be executed. Infrastructure projects and the deployment of telecommunication networks as far as possible can be run in Papua. Of course this intention is based on good intentions. However, the government must ensure that these telecommunications infrastructure and telecommunication services should be as equally distributed and affordable as possible with good quality. It is full of many challenges to fulfill it. Geographical conditions for example.

Keep in mind, the hinterland in Papua more than in Java. In the case of telecommunications, most cellular operators still maximize their network in Java, so even though there is still inland Java, there is still the possibility of networking. Unlike in Papua where the place is sliding slightly, the phone can not be reached. Can be contacted at once, voice dashed.

The government may start having to think of incentives for telecommunication companies deploying services in Papua. These incentives should also pay attention to many things, including seeing the commitment of telecommunication companies to the expansion of their networks on the island. Not only seen based on indicators of coverage coverage or indicators of Quality of Service (QOS) are usually reported, but also see the effectiveness of this expansion for the people of Papua.

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So, eventually all development going on in Papua should now no longer focus on political interests, but more than that, sustainability and sustainability are the main ones. Telecommunications and other essentials should be placed on the portion as a booster for the sustainable progress of Papua. Moreover, during this time the people of Papua are still excluded from various things, including a matter of highlight the ideal media and aspirative for them.


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