Digital Divide

Jul 8th, 2008, in Internet, by

Indonesia still lags well behind its neighbours in proportion of people with internet access.

The General Manager of Telkom's Sumatera Division, M. Awaluddin, said in Medan on 30th June that the proportion of Indonesians who understood and used the internet was still very small compared to countries like Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, that the "digital divide" was still gaping.

In Malaysia, for example, school exams were already done online, or at least with computers, while Indonesia was still far from being ready to implement such a system.

Awaluddin denied the often heard proposition that the net was harmful to youngsters, instead saying that children in advanced countries used the internet to open up a whole new world of useful information. In Sumatra alone there were almost 10 million school age children, and he said Telkom, through its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program, was committed to helping students gain access to the internet. republika

33 Comments on “Digital Divide”

  1. avatar Sighjay says:

    Sorry Purba Negoro, its a fairly simple point but it seems to be eluding you in your anger, which, I respectfully say is ill-considered.

    Firstly there are a number of falsehoods in your statement. In Australia and New Zealand only some 20% of banking transactions are done face to face. Most companies refuse to pay staff in case and most insist on electronic payment accounts payment.

    Most westerners I know do fair portion of their shopping online..on both those you are talking nonsense. Last Christmas about 40% of all US sales were digital.

    Most international air travel, including the travel in and out of Indonesia I’d wager, is now online.

    Most of the IT manufacturers are not American but Asian owned and the net is a global network. I do almost all my business communication and research online and virtaully never communicate with the USA beyond reading few papers, chatting with a few folks, and the like. You are pointing your anger in the wrong direction, and pretty much every other Asian nation is wired way beyond the USA. Perhaps that is why Jakarta used to be one of the top twenty ports in the world but doesn’t make the top 50 now, whereas China which is very teched up, does, as it’s companies take more and more Indonesian business and jobs…if you don’t think they do you simply are not looking. And all those Asian countries have got past online fraud (number two for that in the world is the USA btw but they got through it).

    My wife is a designer..all her research, the libraries she uses, the design done online. She designs for Hotel chains amongst other things and all their business is online for such things. This includes hotels in Indonesia where unless the person who is involved is online, they are passed by.

    There are a multitude of reasons US productivity was much higher then, part of which is manfacturing moving offshore, but either way, it’s hardly relevant to your argument.

    I’ve had two laptops repaired in’s not hard, and it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than anywhere else in the world.

    Fax is a problem, it is not accepted worldwide anymore in many places. My offshore bank no longer uses it as it is insecure and Australian government depts are not required to be fax ready. It’s a dying communication form whose time has gone. In a few years it will be as dead as the cassette and VHS is now.

    In New Zealand you can no longer get a company registered apart from via the net and in a year you will only be able to renew your drivers licence online.

    You seem to have a lot of anger which I think is directed in the wrong direction and blinding you..this has nothing to do with NGOs or the USA or subverting democracy. It’s about opening doors for Indonesians which you seem to want to keep shut.

    You do neither yourself or your countrymen any favours by this. I think this ‘twit’ may hold your fellow countrymen in higher regard and care more for them than you, my angry friend.

  2. avatar Mas Martin says:

    Explain why, in the 1960’s the US had a higher GDP per capita ration than today

    Explain, MR Purba Negoro, the source of your data (and the methodology used) – don’t make a fool of yourself. GDP per capita could have fallen in last half-century in some poor countries like Zambia, but certainly NOT the United States. Prove your claims.

  3. avatar Purba Negoro says:

    “Last Christmas about 40% of all US sales were digital.”

    Hence 60% were non digital.
    Thus the majority were not digital?

    Precisely. Thank-you for reinforcing it.

    There are many mitigating factors to be fully explored behind this figure.
    However if digital technology is truly a projected replacement- why then do leading US stores continue this apparent paleological insistence on a physcial shop?

    “In New Zealand you can no longer get a company registered apart from via the net and in a year you will only be able to renew your drivers licence online.”

    The underlying motive is economic rationalism choosing not relying on prohibitively protected/expensive salaried staff, along with the lucrative phenomenon of casualisation and outsourcing creating the demise of full-time employment in the West.

    Therefore this economic imperative for computerisation does not exist in Indonesia. For such staff as bank teelers, low level admin bureaucrats etc: wages are low, the available workforce pool is vast.

    You point about ports and China is flawed too.

    The world, along with Indonesia has lost manufacturing to CHina as production costs are so much more compettive- and the State is the vehical and authority responsible for this.
    No nation can compete- not even India- as its textile production and soon its call-centre industry will move to Chinese State funded industrial parks- one of which I visited a million acre high-tech IT centre in Dalian.

    China is approximately 40%+ cheaper than Indonesia. An example- a subcontractor of Burberry can produce one unit of luxury shirt for 20,000 Rp.
    China can produce for less than 4 RMB- 4000 Rupiah.

    Secondly the problem with the Indonesian ports is physical. We were anticipating Japanese funding prior to the 1998 currency debacle- had our planned infrastructure expenditure and capitalisation been realised- Indonesia would be a very different economy.

    Indonesian ports are becoming obsolete and require huge investment to allow sufficient draft for current and next generations of container ships and then we will beat Singapore and Kuala Lumpur- who lack the depth of water and construction flexiibilty of Jakarta, Medan and Surabaya,
    We are dependent on foreign capital capacity for funding these upgrades.

    Shanghai is now building a purpose-built port island with 40+ highest capacity cranes, massive interlinked dedicated roads and rail network.
    Not even America can compete with such enormous infrastructure expenditure. Thus none can truly compete on equal plane to this Chinese Sovereign economy.

    This is of course ignoring the issue of currency and treasury transparency- India and Indonesia allow fully open books- and floated currencies, China does not.

    IT ‘investment’ should be termed IT infrastructure liability as initial investment is massively expensive with perpetual recurring expense and rapid redundancy of formerly state of the art systems.

    So. as for other nations- let them be stupid fools on a wild goose chase, attempting to cacth up with a China that can outfund and out-exploit their oppressed workers.

    I believe a catch phrase is “work smarter not harder”.

    Thus- it would be folly to waste precious finite resources on an infrastructure the people cannot afford nor effectively utilise.

    The issue of internet access can be easily overcome via GSM connections and some subsidised rostered share centralised village IT resources- preferably library based.

    Already the Indonesian domestic market has long been an entrepreneur with Internet Kiosks. Suppy demand theory highlights this low capital lower end technology most appropriate. Thus the demand and short-term capacity is already served adequately.

    Indonesia is running a debt of 34% GDP.
    For Indoensia to be competitive- it is imperative this debt be paid as soon as THEN we can start toi work on cpompeting with India and CHina on a somehwat more eual footing.
    Currently the first setp is free primary education. Acheived. Free secondary education is a current project.

    We need a fully literate, numerate, educated society with better vocational skills than currently. Indonesians have enormous potential yet these must be addressed before lofty fantasies of hgih-speed wireless broadband be realised

    If foreign nations truly wish to benefit the Indonesian people- purely for humanist charity not monetary gain-

    please donate your obsolete working computers so IT literacy may be truly affordable but relevant and appropriate to their humble needs.

    Make your software as cheap as possible or even free. Donate your software to Open Source.
    Make latest release technical and specialist books affordable to even the very poorest
    Relax your standards of Intellectual Property Rights to suit the economic realities of the poor

    Until foreign companies address these fundamental injustices of intellectual-knoweldge imperialism and put their money where their mouth is, it all remains just more tech-speak and dot-com masturbation.

    Like Y2K- no we haven’t forgotten that red herring either.

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