Digital infrastructure development is the development of information technology-based infrastructure to support various activities and the digital economy. Digital infrastructure will increase the provision of services and services to be more responsive and efficient. This infrastructure consists of infrastructure in the form of physical (hardware) and non-physical (software). Physical infrastructure development includes building internet networks in rural areas, increasing internet bandwidth capacity and urban wifi networks, strengthening telecommunications and satellite networks, including communication systems for submarine cables, optical cables, BTS towers, and the provision of computers and cellphones. Meanwhile, non-physical infrastructure is the development of data centers, cloud computing, and various applications.
One of Indonesia’s challenges is providing a 4G internet network that is distributed evenly throughout Indonesia. The Telecommunication and Information Accessibility Agency (Bakti) stated that the 4G signal was not evenly distributed throughout the country. Currently, BAKTI, under the Ministry of Communication and Information, is managing the universal service obligation (USO) fund collected from telecommunications operators, amounting to 1.25 percent of gross revenue ranging up to Rp. 2.6 T. The funds will be used to build telecommunications infrastructure in Indonesia, including the Palapa Ring, and constructing base transceiver stations (BTS), especially for previously unreached areas.
Regarding network equity, network sharing is an option that can be used. A study from the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communication finds that the financial benefit of Network sharing for Telco Companies is 35% cost saving in Capex and Opex. Moreover, Telco companies can also focus on competition to provide services for customers and accelerate the timeline to get consumers online in remote areas. In this model, the distribution of network infrastructures such as BTS, tower, antenna, and frequency spectrum can be worked together. Through this mechanism, capital costs can be saved because each provider does not need to build a network infrastructure from scratch to be more efficient. Besides, this network sharing model can be an option in network distribution in unreached areas in Indonesia. It can also be an option to accelerate the realization of the 5G internet network, considering that the substantial investment costs will be borne together.
As digitalization widespread digital connection are no longer luxurious needs. Also, as the COVID-19 pandemic hits, almost every aspect needs a digital connection to survive. The problem is that not every area has a stable connection to begin with. The digital divide is also a problem, not only on the network, but also human resources, applications, and device gaps. To solve these problems, there are several programs such as digital talent scholarship, smart cities development, expansion of the 4G network, and preparing 5G network. On the other hand, the market revolving around telecommunication services should be regulated so that they will not only competing in pricing policy but enhancing the quality of their services.