Leading Papuans and West Papuans to Move to the Digital Age

goodmorningpapua.com – John couldn’t hide his joy. This resident of Jember Village, Kowe District, Keerom Regency, Papua Province, is now able to surf the virtual world from his village which is located in the interior.

Previously, just to get a signal, John had to walk for a day. “After there is a BTS tower (base transceiver station) in our village, I can communicate and play Facebook,” he said happily.

Not only that, John was even able to communicate directly with the Minister of Communication and Information Johnny G. Plate via video call on April 21, 2022, thanks to the presence of 4G BTS in Jember Village.

And, the 4G BTS in Jember Village is not the only one that the central government has built in the interior of Papua and West Papua Provinces. For the first stage, by means of the Telecommunications and Information Accessibility Agency of the Ministry of Communication and Information (BAKTI Kominfo), the government will build 2,765 4G BTS. Breakdown: 2,220 in Papua and 545 in West Papua.

The Minister of Communications and Informatics said that the existence of 4G BTS in 3T areas or at the Terdepan, Terpencil and Tertinggal areas is to lead the people of Papua and West Papua to migrate to the digital era. “So that together with brothers from other provinces in Indonesia we are equal and parallel with other nations in the world,” said Johnny.

BAKTI Kominfo is also determined to complete the construction of the first phase of thousands of 4G BTS in Papua and West Papua by the end of this year, despite many challenges. “We want to make history so that Indonesia can truly become independent with internet signals,” said BAKTI President Director Kominfo Anang Latif.

Only that the construction of 4G BTS in Papua and West Papua is not an easy process. And, this process also involves local governments, including village governments, in the two easternmost provinces of Indonesia. “The role of colleagues in regional and village governments is not small, it is actually the key to the ease of facilities provided by the central government,” said Anang.

The 4G BTS project in Papua and West Papua, he affirmed, has become President Joko Widodo’s commitment through a directive on August 3, 2020, how the gap, especially digital connectivity, can be completed throughout Indonesia. “How to ensure that no one is left behind in Indonesia. Therefore, the government is committed to digital transformation,” he said.

Currently, thousands of people in the hinterland of Papua and West Papua can enjoy internet signals. Because, of the 1,917 4G BTS that have been established, as of April 20, 509 of them have been operating alias on air.

It is including, 4G BTS in Bime District, Bintang Mountains Regency, Papua Province. The population in this sub-district, which is located at an altitude of 1,500-2,000 meters above sea level, is around 2,300 people.

A District Secretary Bime Nerius Wisal said that before there was a signal, to communicate with family or relatives in a city like Jayapura, residents had to go to Oksibil, the capital of the Bintang Mountains. In fact, the distance is very far, about 3 days on foot.

Now, since there is a 4G BTS tower, Bime residents don’t have to go far to Oksibil to communicate with family or relatives in the city, they can use the WhatsApp application. In fact, village and district officials as well as teachers are greatly helped by the existence of the telecommunications infrastructure. “For example, to submit a village fund report to the relevant office. Teachers can also easily report exam results to the office,” said Nerius.

Yulianus, a Principal of Bias Elementary School in Bias Village, Towe District, Keerom Regency, said that the community is very happy with the existence of the 4G BTS tower. “Not only can they communicate, now people can also learn things that were never known before through the internet,” he said.

People in the interior of Papua and West Papua, Yulianus said, are very behind in terms of development. “With the BTS tower, people can feel the development, even if it’s a little,” said he, who also helps teach at an elementary school in Murkim District, Bintang Mountains Regency, because it is located close by.

Indeed, Anang said, most of the people of Papua and West Papua were a bit late in getting a touch from telecommunications operators. “And of course, the government needs to be present to cover the gap,” he said.

The next year, BAKTI Kominfo will prepare Satria satellites to support 4G BTS in the interior of Papua and West Papua with very ample capacity. Thus, internet access can be smoother.

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