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Indonesia Case Study

Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous nation with some 210 million inhabitants, is ethnically and geographically diverse with dozens of local languages and more than 10’000 islands spread across thousands of kilometers. Deeply affected by the regional financial crisis as well by a political instability, the archipelago has been in a state of crisis for the last four years. Despite the situation, the Internet market is growing. Indeed, part of the demand for Internet has come as a result of the more open political environment and a profusion of Indonesian news-based portals. There are some 60 Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in operation, serving over 300’000 subscribers and an estimated two million users.

Internet growth has been primarily grass-roots driven, mainly because the government has been busy dealing with the economic and political situation. Recent developments, however, suggest that the government is pushing for the development of the Internet. A recent decree calls for a top-level committee to chart the course for the development of an Indonesian Information Society. It is hoped that this will not only raise awareness of the Internet but also lead to the development of local applications that will make ICT more relevant for the average citizen. There are also a series of activities underway that should lead to a more competitive telecommunication market by ending the exclusivities of national and international operators and by eliminating the requirement that the incumbent operators have stakes in new operators.

There are a number of distinctive aspects to the Indonesian ICT scene. One is the popularity of the so-called “Warnets” or Internet cafes. There are around 2’500 of these around the country, operated by private entrepreneurs. They have helped expand access to the Internet for those that cannot afford individual access. According to one survey, over half of Indonesia’s Internet users access the Internet from a Warnet. In addition to the Warnets, the Indonesia postal service has also launched Internet access from over 100 post offices and is also an ISP in its own right with some 20’000 subscribers.

A mission to Indonesia was carried out by Michael Minges from 30 April - 4 May 2001. The national counterpart was the Directorate General of Posts and Telecommunications (Postel).

Indonesia Case Study

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