The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology has launched about 2,000 mobile internet service centres early this month to cater to rural areas in six provinces in Indonesia.
The mobile unit, dubbed MPLIK, is a small bus equipped with six laptops with a satellite internet connection. Each unit also has a flat-screen television and a telephone line.
Each unit costs around Rp500 million (US$59,000).
Communication and IT Minister Tifatul Sembiring said the MPLIK is designed to overcome the digital divide between urban and rural areas. He added that the Ministry hopes to bring Internet services in every subdistrict in the country.
Tifatul said the central government had set up 5,748 Internet centres at the subdistrict level, but many subdistricts in the country are too remote to be reached by conventional means.
“So we have provided the MPLIK, which can travel from ward to ward so schoolchildren can take turns to access the Internet and use the computers,” he said.
The first stage of the project will include areas of East Java, North Maluku, North Sulawesi, North Sumatra, West Java and West Sumatra.
Tifanul said the central government would provide free internet connections for the first two years of the programme, and the facilities would later be operated by local administrations.
“We urge our providers not to charge their normal commercial rate, because after all, this is for the people,” he said.
This year, 1,907 mobile internet service centres will be rolling in rural areas of the country. The Minister said additional units will be roll out next year, “but the exact number depends on the budget for the programme.”
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