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Cheap Internet: Does It Possible (part 2 of Indonesians & Their Internet Culture)

Added on by Ridzki.

Update: The Ministry of Communications and  Information Technology said that the cost of the Internet will be reduced to allow greater acceptance with the public. Hope this will be the key to provide better utilisation of the Internet to the masses. news taken from here Update 2: The cost of the Internet will be lowered after the legislative election on April 9th. A way to attract the voters? I'm sure the user will not put too much care on it

On my last post I was talking about the lack of use of email as a mean of effective communications. There are several factor that made this e-mail communication did not become a reliable and effective method of communications.The pressing matter is the availability of the cheap internet access. When I meant cheap, I also meant that it have to be reliable in good quality (in terms of speed and signal) to ensure the process of effective communication.

Indonesia is steadily improving in its internet access, however it is far from satisfactory. In comparison with countries like Malaysia or Singapore, who enjoys cheaper price of Internet for better quality, Indonesia seems like a country full of choices but none of the choices could be considered best. Real life example should apply here; Telkomspeedy the sole provider of ADSL internet access in Indonesia as a whole, have put the price of Rp. 450.000 for their 3GB quota, while Malaysia with their Streamyx cost as much but with no cap (www.telkom.com, www.streamyx.com).

Well we can always look for scapegoat for every matter in Indonesia, which include on this laying of price, however, that is not the point of this writings. The point is how do we can achieve what Malaysia and Singapore have been able to achieve. Of course there would be a lengthy discussion and regarding what could and should be done regarding this matter, a project proposal, and to the point of acceptance and rejection.

Telkom as the national telecommunication services would automatically handling the ADSL route of Internet connection. This act as a double edged blade, first as Telkom had the technology and infrastructure they could readily deliver ADSL internet access, however, being the sole provider would mean that the market is monopolised by Telkom. There are however, gaps that could not filled by Telkom and its ADSL access, there are the people who are always on the move, People who are unsatisfied with the package offered by Telkomspeedy access and people who does not have phone line yet (but of course they have mobiles). This over the time creating a new number of ISP with competitive price and package, however, none of the new ISP are targeting the third of the market, because of the lack of infrastructure and low number of Internet user in Indonesia (only 10% of Indonesian uses Internet regularly out of its 200 million people (Kompas, 27 December 2008)) Based on the situation above it could be determined that there are several things could be done in order to sort this problem out.

1 Lower the price of Telkomspeedy, this can be done by subsidising the cost of the Internet from the education budget. 2 Build infrastructure that could support the other ISP to provide internet access other than the big cities. 3 Provide training of basic internet feature (data collection via google, correspondence via e-mail, etc.) in school, government offices and people who need to interact with other people. 4 Make a program to use the Internet for regular correspondence, for example; Students from two different secondary schools across cities in Indonesia will try to correspondence with each other via email, they could share stories or pictures regarding their school etc. 5 Create an awareness to use email as a medium for correspondence and point out the the advantage of using email rather than snail-mail. 6 Build a proper library with cheap and qualified internet access, for people who does not have computer to use.

Onno W. Purbo have an interesting idea on how to achieve low cost internet by using a frying pan. There are wiki articles on how it could be achieved; 

http://opensource.telkomspeedy.com/wiki/index.php/Teknologi_RT/RW-net

http://opensource.telkomspeedy.com/wiki/index.php/Wajanbolic_e-goen

*both of the link is on Bahasa Indonesia.

The basic idea is to share internet services in community where one household would act as the primary user for the service, while at the same time sharing the connections with people in the community. The frying pan would act as the receiver in other households. 

By using this method, people in community could actually bear the cost of the Internet together, which is rationally going to be cheaper, thus achieving the more effective communications.

Cheers