Indonesia’s Information and Communication Minister Muhammad Nuh says the government will launch a tender for its Palapa Ring project – a fibre-optic network spanning Surabaya, East Java – on 10 November 2007. If completed, the new network could provide telephony and internet services to some 40,000 villages. The Jakarta Post reports that the state also plans to make provision for Wi-Fi infrastructure in east Indonesia where telecoms networks are currently woefully underdeveloped, and will offer free hotspots to boost internet uptake.
The Palapa Ring project, which was initiated in January 2005 during the first Indonesia Infrastructure Summit, is part of the government’s plan to boost telecommunications penetration in the country, which currently stands at 20%. The construction of a fibre-optic ring will connect Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, Nusa Tenggara, Sulawesi, Maluku and Papua, and eight network connections, or backhauls. With an estimated 35,280km of submarine and 21,807km of terrrestrial fibre-optic cable, the project would connect 33 provinces and 440 cities. Construction is expected to start in early 2008 and the ring network is expected to enter into full operation in 2011.