Indonesia’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology is planning to develop 15 smart districts and cities across the country as pilot projects that will be supported by a broadband service infrastructure.
The move is part of the President Joko Widodo government to create a digital economy in which all corners of this archipelago will be connected with broadband, boosting the growth of e-commerce and stimulating the economy in rural areas.
The move is supported by the development of Palapa Ring broadband program which is scheduled to be completed by January 2019. The broadband network will cover around 500 districts and cities across the nation, once the Palapa Ring project is completed.
Minister for Communications and Information Technology Rudiantara told DEALSTREETASIA that several districts and cities will take part in the pilot program including – Brebes and Banyuwangi city on Java Island and Makassar on Sulawesi Island.
Rudiantara said the government is targeting to provide approximately 1 million domains and hosting to all types of business until 2019. He noted with the completion of Palapa Ring project, 4G phones can be accessed throughout the country and ultimately help boost the growth of e-commerce in the country.
Former Secretary of the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas), Syahrial Loetan stated that the Smart City program has six elements – namely Smart Economy, Smart Mobility, Smart Environment (intelligent environment), Smart Government (Smart Administration), Smart Living (intelligent life), and Smart People.
Syahrial noted that Bandung and Surabaya are also potential smart cities. Bandung has developed an Internet access service in city parks that has attracted more Bandung residents to visit the parks more often.
The broadband network is expected to support the growth of the country’s rural areas as they can get instant access of commodity and agriculture product prices through smartphones.
Minister Rudiantara, however, admitted that it will be a challenge to help farmers, who have not been exposed to digital technology and so the government has introduced five Android-based applications such as Petani, a free SMS-based consultation feature for farmers. Other such addps include Limakilo, PantauHarga and TaniHub