Govt to issue new license for int'l call services
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
The government plans to allow another telecommunications company to provide direct international call services in competition with the two existing operators, PT Indosat and PT Telkom Indonesia.
Information and Communications Minister Sofyan Djalil said in Jakarta on Tuesday that the new license would be sold by way of auction to an existing telecommunications firm.
"But, as the issuance of the new license is aimed at reducing Internet bandwidth tariffs, the license will only be given to a company willing to develop a fiber-optic network connecting Indonesia and other countries," he said after inaugurating a new Information Access Center (IAC) at the head office of state postal services operator PT Pos Indonesia.
He said that existing telecommunications companies would be allowed to participate in the auction. However, he added that the government would give priority to firms with large customer bases.
In Indonesia, 50 percent of Internet access uses global bandwidth.
Sofyan said that if Indonesia had fiber-optic connections to countries like Hong Kong and Singapore, bandwidth tariffs could be reduced.
For example, the bandwidth tariff in Indonesia (using Telkom's Speedy service) was about Rp 300,000 (about US$32) for internet use of 500 megabytes per month, with a connection speed of 20 kilobytes per second, while in Australia customers could access unlimited bandwidth for only $45 per month.
Sofyan said that the government was making serious efforts to increase Internet access in Indonesia.
According to figures supplied by the Indonesian Association of Internet Providers, 16 million people in Indonesia currently have access to the Internet.
Sofyan also said that a new joint venture between local and foreign companies would build an undersea communications network connecting Java and other islands in Indonesia.
"We will sign an agreement with the joint venture next week," he said. However, he did not name the companies.
The Information Access Center (IAC) was developed using a design produced by the Korea Agency for Digital Opportunity and Promotion (KADO), which donated 55 linked personal computers and one server worth Rp 5 billion, with broadband Internet access facilitated by Wasantara.net.
The center consists of an Internet lounge, seminar room, business center and workshops.
Sofyan said that this integrated model should serve as an example for other internet and telephone rental providers throughout Indonesia.(08)