Efforts to achieve Internet independence in the Bintang Mountains

Jakarta (Antara) – “If there was internet, we would be happier living here,” said Yulianos Yesnat with a glint on his face.

Julianus is a school principal in Bias Village, Morchem County, Bintang Mountains, Papua. A man in his thirties can’t wait to complete the construction of a 4G base transceiver station (BTS) in his village.

When the infrastructure is operational, it will be his residence in a mountainous region free from the “isolation” of the Internet.

She spent Julianos’ days as a teacher at Bias State Primary School. There are 31 child students in the school.

Julianos said the lack of internet access in Bias village made his work difficult. In today’s digital age, internet presence is quite accessible.

To get a proper 4G internet signal, Julianos had to go “down the mountain” to Jayapura. However, it is not easy to be able to go to the capital of the province of Papua.

Transportation from Bintang Mountains to Jayapura can only be reached by air within 45 minutes. The costs incurred are not small, it can take millions of rupees.

Therefore, the presence of Internet access is the most awaited thing for Julianos and other Papuans who live in isolated areas.

However, the problem is not only that. As with the Internet, the cellular network is not very accessible there.

Yulianus and other Bias village residents have to walk about 30 minutes across the river and up a hill to look for a 2G cellular signal.

In fact, residents really need a cellular signal to call families outside the village. Many of the sons and daughters of Al-Anhaas villagers immigrated to Papua to continue their education.

Adequate communication signals are needed so that residents there can communicate regularly with their children.

BAKTI effort

Fortunately, all these difficulties will soon be resolved. The Communications and Information Access Agency (BAKTI) of the Ministry of Communications and Information (Kominfo) is currently building 4G BTS in 7,904 3T/kelurahan villages (Far, Underdeveloped, Pioneering).

Of the 7,904 4G BTS construction sites, 5,204, or 65 percent of them, are in Papua and West Papua.

For the Bintang Mountains itself, 196 4G BTS stations are planned to be built in 2022. The total proposed construction of telecom towers in the area is 261 points.

It is planned to build 4G BTS at 196 points, 44 of which are currently under construction, while 10 more are already on the air. To build 4G BTS in the Bintang Mountains region, BAKTI Kominfo has partnered with a consortium of PT IBS and ZTE.

The 4G BTS tower is located in Bime District, Bintang Mountains, Papua, Fri (22/4/2022) (ANTARA / Fathur Rochman)

BAKTI Kominfo is committed to continue accelerating the construction of 4G BTS in the offshore, backward and pioneer (3T) regions of the Bintang Mountains.

“How can this gap be bridged, especially digital connectivity, across Indonesia, and our brothers and sisters in the Bintang Mountains also need to get a signal like we already received on the island of Java,” said BAKTI Director, Kominfo Anang Latif.

difficult terrain

Quoting from the Papua.go.id page, Gunung Bintang is a district in Papua Province that was legalized on April 12, 2003, with Oksibil as the district capital.

To the north, the Bintang Mountains border the Kerom and Jayapura districts. While on the south it is bordered by the Boven Digoel Regency. On the west it is bordered by Yahokimo Regency. While in the east it is bordered by Papua New Guinea.

The region comprising 34 regions has a unique geographic condition, as most of the region is mountainous. People live there on steep mountain slopes and small, scattered, isolated valleys.

The lowlands are only found in the north and south with a very low level of territorial access, which makes them difficult to access compared to other areas of Papua.

To date, most of the services in the area of ​​1,568,300 hectares with a population of 71,710 people (2015 data) can only be carried out using air transport.

Geographical conditions in the Bintang Mountains are so “harsh” that they present their own challenges in building 4G BTS towers in the area.

Head of Supply Chain Management PT IBS Meita Dwivernia acknowledges that the process of distributing materials to build a 4G BTS tower in Bintang Mountains region is not easy.

To build only one 4G BTS tower, his party must transport about 90 types of components weighing 10 tons using air transport.

PT IBS should assemble 90 components divided into Tower, Power, VSAT, and BTS based on size.

Materials with a maximum dimension of 3.5 meters are transported using aircraft type mobile home. Shorter materials can be loaded using a Pilatus-type aircraft.

As for materials with wide dimensions, such as fences or antennas, they must be transported externally by helicopter using sling.

The process of transporting materials to planes and helicopters is no less complicated. Each material must be weighed in advance to determine the total weight of the whole in order to prevent overloading.

Workers must also be skilled in placing loaded items both in the cabin and on the net to keep them safe during the flight.

The material transfer takes place at Senggeh Airport, Keerom Regency.

Previously, materials were sent to Senggeh by road using a truck from a storage warehouse in Jayapura. The road trip took about six hours.

In the process of sending materials by air, pilots of planes or helicopters have to focus and be careful.

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