goodmorningpapua.com – The area and geographical conditions in Papua and West Papua are the main causes of uneven access to the cellular telephone network. Cellular telephone transmitter stations are only available in urban areas or around the district capital.
Transmitter stations or cell phone towers also generally exist in popular tourist destinations, such as Raja Ampat. The transmitter stations are difficult to find in isolated areas or areas that are far away from the district capital.
For example, in Kokas District, Fakfak Regency, there is a 2G network, but no internet access. In Papua and West Papua, internet or 4G cellular telephone networks are only available in urban areas and district capitals.
Although there are no cellular telephone towers in most areas of Papua and West Papua, tourists do not worry about not being connected to the outside world via the Internet. Because there are other ways to keep connected to the internet and to use various online-based applications, such as the instant messaging application of WhatsApp, email, and browsers. The trick is by using satellite internet service.
Hari Suroto said the satellite internet is like an oasis in the hinterland of Papua. This technology is very helpful for rural residents in communicating. “The satellite internet is usually rented hourly by buying vouchers,” said Hari Suroto, who is also a lecturer in archeology at Cenderawasih University. The tariff for satellite internet access is Rp. 15 thousand per hour. If you pay Rp. 50 thousand, you can use the internet connection as much as you want for four hours. One of the satellite internet services is used in Okbibab District, Bintang Mountains, Papua.
This regency is known as the best Arabica coffee producer in Papua. Access to transportation toward Okbibab District can only be done by small plane. There is no cell phone network there. But satellite internet allows farmers to connect with coffee buyers in Jayapura and other areas. They generally communicate by WhatsApp or Messenger.
Another example is in Goras Village, Mbahamdandara District, Fakfak Regency, West Papua. There are no cell phone towers there. People who want to communicate with a 2G cellular connection have to climb up the hill in the middle of the forest. Once there is satellite internet, the residents of Goras Village can easily communicate with people outside their area.
Two challenges in utilizing satellite internet are weather and energy sources. “If there is a thunderstorm, the satellite internet will be turned off first,” said Hari Suroto. The operation of satellite internet also relies on electricity generators.
In the inland of Papua, the electricity generator only works for six hours, from 18.00 pm to 24.00. The performance of an electric generator depends on the availability of fuel. In some areas, the satellite internet uses solar energy or solar cells. However, the supply also depends on the availability of sunlight. When the weather is cloudy, the electrical energy stored is very little.