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21 Sep

Bridging the Divide

By: Chandni Goel
Sep 21, 2017

Indonesia is a widely spread archipelago of over 17000 islands which are home to 82,190 villages. Out of these almost 18,603 villages receive only weak network signals & 7,717 villages receive absolutely zero network coverage. VNL is helping bridge the divide between the connected and unconnected in the island country. The company has managed to successfully bring connectivity to 33 villages across the remote islands. And residents of these villages have just begun to discover the numerous benefits.

The villages of Tampak-Kura, Hinua and Lakahang, in the province of West Sulawesi are some of the recently connected remote sites. VNL’s rural connectivity solution was deployed here with the help of Matra Mandiri Prima (MMP), a leading system integrator in Indonesia. For people who live in these villages, life has changed since then.

30-year old Muhammad Sobri, a nurse in Hinua, recounted how he still remembers the nervous knocks at his door in the middle of the night – all from villagers in need of help for medical emergencies. Sometimes his help reached them too late, often making the patient’s misery worse. Now, people from his community just give him a call and take advice. All health issues, big or small, are quickly addressed, well in time.

For Imelda, a 16-year old student in Tampak-Kura, the shift has been much more profound. She had never used a phone until the telecom site was deployed. The first call she made was to her father who comes home only once every 6 months, from the city. She can now talk to him whenever she wants. And this was only the beginning. Since she discovered data-connectivity on her phone, she’s been using it to access the web not just for her school work, but also beyond. Imelda is now striving for a scholarship to study to become an engineer.

Maria, 32, a school teacher in Lakahang is able to plan her lessons much more creatively since gaining access to the internet. The students are now showing a heightened interest during classes, she maintains. There are countless such examples of the impact connectivity has made on the lives of people in rural Indonesia. This is a small yet significant start for VNL in the island nation. There are many such village belts across the country that, are waiting to be connected.

In collaboration with the Universal Service Fund, we aim to extend connectivity to the remotest corners of Indonesia where MNOs are not venturing due to fear of poor business returns. USOF, the Indian Universal Service Fund, has been one of the most successful USFs in this regard. It has funded some game-changing telecom deployments in India which include connectivity for Left-Wing Extremism affected regions, connecting the unconnected belts in North-East India and broadband connectivity for 250,000 Gram Panchayats. VNL has been a proud partner in some of these projects. We now hope to be a part of similar success stories for Indonesia!

To know more about VNL’s work in Indonesia, download our Case Study.

To read about how USFs are impacting global connectivity, read our USF Position Paper1 and USF Position Paper2.

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