Indonesia considering satellite technology for its broadband push

  • Satellite project to connect people in remote areas
  • Project will begin ‘soon’ after Palapa Ring is completed
Indonesia considering satellite technology for its broadband push

 
AS part of the Indonesia Broadband Plan, the Government is looking to use satellites to connect people in remote and rural areas, beyond just fibre-optic networks.
 
However, details are sketchy because the Government has yet to determine how this would be rolled out, according to Minister of Communications and Information Technology Rudiantara.
 
“We currently discussing many possibilities, either renting satellite capacity or launching our own,” he said in Jakarta last week.
 
“But until 2019, our main priority is the Palapa Ring project – with this completed, we will think more on using satellites,” he said, adding that it would probably be done on a public sector-private sector partnership basis as with the Palapa Ring project.
 
Earlier this year, Indonesia officially kicked off its Palapa Ring project that aims to bring Internet access to all its citizens via fibre-optics.
 
But fibre-optics cannot reach all areas of the vast Indonesian archipelago, and satellite technology may be a more viable alternative, according to Rudiantara.
 
“A High Throughput Satellite (HTS) could connect people in small islands that cannot be reached through the Palapa Ring,” he said, adding that an HTS has 100 times more capacity than a conventional satellite.
 
Met on a separate occasion, the ministry’s director of special telecommunications, Ismail, also stressed said that satellites would be able to reach people in the small and outer islands, unlike the Palapa Ring project which is aimed at reaching towns and districts.
 
Supply-demand imbalance
 
Indonesia Satellite Association (ASSI) chairman Dani Indra said that Indonesia has a shortage of satellites, due to high demand. More than 70% of transponders or satellite channels are foreign-owned.
 
“Based on data from 2015, the growth of Indonesia’s satellite industry has been slack, at 3-5%, and this rate will continue until 2020,” he told DNA via text.
 
According to Dani, to meet demand, Indonesia will launch two satellites this year: BRISat with 45 transponders and Telkom 3S with 49 transponders.
 
BRISat, owned by local bank PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI), was due to launch June 8, but this was delayed to June 16 because of a technical glitch.
 
BRI president director Asmawi Syam said the company has invested US$250 million, and is targeting to break even in seven years.
 
“Four of our transponders will be given over to the Government,” he had said in Jakarta on May 10.
 
Rudiantara later said that those four transponders will be used for fixed communications.
 
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