Indonesian President Joko Widodo visited the US recently, with plans to negotiate with several global tech giants.
However, it appears that PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Telkom) is against the plan. Telkom’s Director of Innovation and Strategic Portfolio Indra Utoyo stated that the plan will harm the local telecommunications industry since Google will bypass the local connections.
Moreover, the programme is still in the research phase, making it even riskier to implement.
Utoyo added that Telkom, along with other players of the industry, are currently working hand in hand to build their network all over Indonesia.
However, he stated that Telkom will still support the Project Loon program as long as it’s well-targeted, which is to reach remote areas that broadband can’t reach yet. The implementation should involve national operators as well.
On the contrary, the plan is music to XL Axiata’s ears. According to XL’s CEO Dian Siswarini, this is a good plan to reach remote areas. She even suggested that it’s better to learn about the programme’s business model before finally implementing it. Siswarini said that once the economic motive is well understood, there wouldn’t be any excuse to oppose implementing the programme.
In Australia, Google has partnered with local operator Telstra to launch the Project Loon programme. Google didn’t purchase nor rent any frequency while doing that, as Telstra allows it to access the BTS network using its frequency to be distributed to users through Wi-Fi connectivity.
This strategy is considered replicable in Indonesia.
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Before commenting on this issue, it’s better for us to learn about what challenges connectivity in Indonesia faces.
It’s Indonesia’s unique geography, as the country is practically an archipelago. Google’s modern technology transmits through the air, while the broadband network uses a submarine cable network.
The President might have a different opinion, as he wants to accelerate the realisation of fast Internet distribution all over Indonesia.
As Dian Siswarini said, it’s important to be open to new tech and innovation. We should judge Google’s innovation by its benefits for the people. If it can accelerate the connectivity distribution, then why not?
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