The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is jointly organizing a consultative workshop on Approaches to ASEAN Next Generation Universal Service Obligation (USO 2.0) in partnership with the United States Government through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Indonesian Authority on Accessibility and Telecommunications (BAKTI) in Jakarta on 25-26 July 2019. The workshop will contribute to ASEAN’s effort to increase connectivity and broadening inclusivity within the region by improving access to broadband internet. Finding ways to make broadband internet access physically accessible and affordable is a major challenge facing Southeast Asia as a region. To address this growing need, the Telecommunications and ICT Senior Officials Meeting (TELSOM) have proposed to adopt framework for next generation universal service obligations (USO2.0). USAID and BAKTI are collaborating to review a framework document prepared by the International Telecommunications Union and to provide ASEAN with practical steps to use universal service programs as part of national broadband strategies designed to make broadband access available to all.
The two-day workshop that was just completed in Jakarta examined national broadband policies and the region while highlighting lessons from other jurisdictions and their applicability. It also included discussions about approaching next generation Universal Service programs to expand connectivity and strengthen inclusivity in the region.
Minister of Communication and Informatics of the Republic of Indonesia, H.E Mr. Rudiantara, along with the U.S. Mission to ASEAN Chargé d’Affaires ad interim, Mr. James Carouso, officiated the second-day of the workshop. In his keynote, Minister Rudiantara conveys “Indonesia from ICT Infrastructure Index point of view is not number one in ASEAN, Indonesia currently take four or five position after Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and probably Vietnam. Geographical challenge has become the main reason of difficulties to establish ICT Infrastructure in Indonesia, but government will not give up. The less economic feasibility of remote areas made them unattractive for operator to established. Therefore, Ministry of ICT along with BAKTI side to side try to equalize connectivity development in Indonesia. Universal Service Obligation Fund in Indonesia is managed by BAKTI, that was before, a working unit under Ministry of CIT and now it has transformed to Badan Layanan Umum (BLU) that emphasize corporation management style to give an excellent level of service to bridge the digital divide in Indonesia". Minester Rudiantara elaborate strongly USO’s Policy from many aspects such as Government’s intervention, implementation scheme, human resources, governance, technological choice, finance scheme and the future of ICT development in Indonesia. Minister Rudiantara also emphasizes USO case in Indonesia can be put as one of main references for other countries to handle universal access. Mr. Carouso highlighted the United States’ commitment to supporting ASEAN’s endeavors to design, align, and implement the next generation of Universal Service programs: “We can all see that the digital economy is the future. Through USAID, the United States Government is pleased to partner with ASEAN to expand access to digital technologies. We look forward to furthering these mutual efforts through our next generation Universal Services Obligation program. Ultimately, ASEAN’s progress on expanding broadband access is progress toward greater economic growth and improved human welfare.”
The consultative workshop was attended by approximately 100 participants representing ASEAN Member States Telecommunications and Information and Technology Senior Officials Meeting (TELSOM), ASEAN Telecommunication Regulators’ Council (ATRC) and Universal Service Obligation (USO) Regulators/Authorities as well as carriers and vendors, solution providers, including OTT services, and digital startups, along with cross-sector representation from education, health, and finance.
Secretary-General of the Ministry of Communication and Informatics of the Republic of Indonesia, as Indonesia’s TELSOM Leader, Ms. Rosarita Niken Widiastuti delivered the opening remarks on day one. Ms. Niken conveyed Indonesia’s commitment to established seamless connectivity across the region as the internet has become a necessity and cannot be separated from peoples live even to the remote areas. The government has targeting freedom of signal in 2020. Indonesia Ministry of Communication and Information along with Badan Aksesiblilitas Telekomunikasi dan Informasi (BAKTI) invites all telecommunication service providers and operators in Indonesia to help build their infrastructure and services not only in Java island or in big city, but also targeting 5000 villages that are located on the outer border of Indonesia. All of the effort is to ensure that USO program will contribute to the equitable distribution of telecommunication access in all regions. Director of Resources BAKTI, Ms. Fadhilah Mathar, who also delivered opening remarks for the first day workshop express that universal access is the essential step for creation the opportunity and income redistribution for underserved non-viable areas.
USO in Indonesia Indonesia, as one of the largest archipelagic countries in the world, has many challenges in equalizing infrastructure development, including the equity of telecommunications and information infrastructure development throughout Indonesia to overcome digital divide problems. BAKTI was assigned by the Ministry of Communication and Informatics of the Republic of Indonesia to manage the USO fund to establish ICT infrastructure in the borderland, outermost and very rural areas in Indonesia.
BAKTI provides quality with accurately targeted service of Telecommunication and Information Universal Service Obligation (USO) to overcome the digital divide in Indonesia. Through affirmative policy, the Government of Indonesia is present to develop telecommunication and information infrastructure to support the digital economy development, among others by developing 4G LTE in rural areas. BAKTI has a tagline for its program called "Merdeka Sinyal 2020" or Signal for All 2020. Signal represents the availability of telecommunication service. Signal for All 2020 means that BAKTI is committed to establishing telecommunication infrastructure for all people who live in rural areas by 2020.
Currently, BAKTI has four significant projects, namely:
BAKTI has built 1068 BTS sites spread across 24 provinces and 137 districts (as of July 2019). Those BTS sites were built in rural areas where network has not been established by private mobile operator due to low economic feasibility consideration.
Palapa Ring is a National Strategic Project for the development of national fiber optic backbone network that connects all cities/districts in Indonesia with fiberoptic networks. Palapa Ring Project with a PPP Scheme is carried out by the Telecommunications and Information Accessibility Agency (BAKTI) of the Ministry of Communication and Information. The project covers a total of 90 districts/cities consisting of 57 districts/cities of services and 33 districts/cities for interconnection. It connects 11 provinces with a network length of approximately 12 thousand kilometers. Furthermore, the Non-PPP scheme of Palapa Ring Project is carried out by PT Telkom connecting 457 districts/cities in Indonesia.
The Palapa Ring Project portion which is carried out by BAKTI, Ministry of Communication and Information, consists of three packages, namely Palapa Ring Package West Package, Palapa Ring Package Central Package, and Palapa Ring East Package. The two Palapa Ring packages, namely West and Central Packages have been completed 100% and have entered the operational and commercial period. As for the Palapa Ring East Package, the project construction have reached 98.50% (as of the end of June 2019).
MULTI-FUNCTION SATELLITE SATRIA
SATRIA or Satelit Republik Indonesia is a satellite system prepared for fast internet connectivity service throughout Indonesia. SATRIA has a capacity of 150 Gbps with Very High Throughput Satellite (V-HTS) technology and will fill the 146° E orbital slot. The plan for construction of SATRIA will start at the end of 2019 and will be launched at the end of 2022.
BAKTI presents to address the digital divide by providing public internet access services. The internet access provision is focused on the following public locations: schools, vocational training centers (BLK/Balai Latihan Kerja), community health centers (Puskesmas), tourism locations, village halls and government offices located in rural areas or other areas that still need telecommunications and information facilities and infrastructure.
The scheme for implementing Palapa Ring and Multi-function Satellite SATRIA project is with the scheme of Public-Private Partnership (PPP). The payment scheme is with the Availability Payment (AP) scheme during the concession period of 15 years starting from the commercial operation date. The source of funding is from Universal Service Obligation funds managed by the Telecommunications and Information Accessibility Agency (BAKTI) of the Ministry of Communication and Information.
Currently, BAKTI has developed the public internet access service in 4111 sites and will deploy 2200 more sites in 2019.