“The ICT Infrastructure is the Central Issue in E-content Development”
What e-content means in Indonesia:
A: The e-content sector encompasses individuals/institutes/companies which create, manage and distribute electronic/digital data as well as those who develop software applications for the management and distribution of electronic/digital data.
What is the current status of e-content in your country, including national e-content development across all the sectors of the industry?
Currently, e-content development is not a government priority. Even the larger issue of the digital divide has not yet been given a clear position in the Government’s agenda. However, informally, a small part of Indonesian society has realized the importance of e-content and there are a lot of initiatives and efforts being made to develop this area. While the infrastructure is weak, the e-content development, once it started, just keeps steadily moving ahead.
The natural richness of culture, art, and creativity of Indonesians are major assets in the development process, and thus, in terms of creativity and substance, e-content development in Indonesia has a bright future.
Regarding technicalities, there is a significant number of products that are well designed and meet the international standards, the technical issue needs more attention. A great deal of effort is needed in building human capacity in order to create more Indonesians who are able to explore and transform creative content into a well-designed e-package.
The ICT infrastructure still is the central issue in e-content development in Indonesia; however, the policy issues and the development of a legal framework is important as well. The Government of Indonesia has not yet adopted any supportive policy or legal framework with regard to e-content, but it has realized the importance of the issue and there are some endeavours to formulate and improve policies in progress. The new policy and legal framework will, hopefully, create a more conducive environment for e-content development in Indonesia and attract more capital/investment to support this development.
Which e-content area is best developed in your country?
‘Best developed’ perhaps is not a right term, but I can say that the ‘more developed’ areas are e-biz, e-entertainment, e-news and e-community.
Which sectors in your country are the leaders in e-content development?
Business and private sectors are more aggressive than the Government. Civil society, or society at large, especially young people are also very aggressive in developing e-content. This can be partly seen from the statistics of .id domain names. It is obvious that mil.id and gov.id (which are both Government initiatives) are not significant in number.
Please list the major initiatives which have influenced and spurred the development of e-content in your country.
» Civil society’s initiative to build a people-network started in 1996 by building many Internet cafes (warnet), pioneered by young scholars and university students in Jakarta, Bandung and Yogyakarta;
» The High School 2000 Movement (SMU2000) in 2000 is the initiative of NGO’s to provide Internet access to 2000 high schools in Indonesia, marking the beginning of the creation of high-school Web sites.
» The creation of the Ganesha Digital Library Network enables knowledge storing-sharing-distribution between educational institutions and common people.
What have been the major bottlenecks in the development of e-content in your country?
» Lack of a government-articulated national vision and strategy for the successful deployment of e-content development;
» Lack of a predictable legal and regulatory framework that recognizes, facilitates, and enforces of e-content development;
» Lack of ICT infrastructure, low telephone and computer penetration, few Internet users, prohibitively high cost of the Internet;
» Lack of resources i.e. capital investment;
» Lack of incentives for the private sector to invest in and develop the e-content sector.
In developed countries ICT has become part of daily life and e-content development is primarily left to the initiatives of individuals or organizations. On the other hand, in less developed countries, the development of e-content is largely dependent on ICT infrastructure. Please give a detailed analysis of the situation in your country.
Civil society has, so far, been the one to lay the foundation of Internet infrastructure (while non-Internet ICT infrastructure has been provided by the Government). Civil society simultaneously began the development of e-content in Indonesia seven or eight years ago.
The business sector subsequently began to play a role in the arena. With the combination of a heavy economic crisis and political turmoil, the Government was the last one to join the process. Thus, in Indonesia, e-content development, while largely is dependent on ICT infrastructure, it also is dependent to the interplay of Government, the business sector and civil society, and how they cooperate to get rid of infrastructure barriers and to find a solutions to support e-content development.
How would you describe the ICT scenario in your country? Please describe it in terms of infrastructure, penetration, acceptance and policies.
ICT infrastructure: While the existing ICT infrastructure in Indonesia is far from being adequate, the provision of access to ICT is always growing, mainly due to civil society and community initiatives which include the private/business sector by the establishment of new telecentres and Internet / multimedia cafes. Thus, it can be predicted that there will be at least a slight, but beneficial, improvement in ICT infrastructure, especially if this is supported by Government (as stated in 5 years Action Plan).
The aim is to facilitate Internet access to public services, progressively develop the national backbone of infrastructure, develop local access networks in under-served areas, implement a universal access programme and extend access beyond the market through a range of innovative public access initiatives, including new technologies and telecenters.
Penetration: While telephone penetration seems to be slowly expanding, the Internet penetration will keep increasing rapidly. The number of Internet users is predicted to be double each year.
Acceptance: The growth of ICT acceptance in Indonesia has been increasing rapidly since 1996 and it will continue to grow significantly.
Policies: The Government of Indonesia, in its 5 years Action Plan, states that there will be improvements in the ICT regulatory framework including licensing, tariff, interconnection, standardization and frequency spectrum management.
The Government will have a universal access policy and targets, remove barriers to competition in the ICT market and facilitate faster integration service safeguards, including high-capacity broadband services and peer group radio networks.
The Government of Indonesia recognizes the need to create a conducive legal and regulatory environment to support ICT development. It is prepared to ensure a clear and transparent framework by deregulating existing ICT-related Acts and drafting the necessary ICT-related legislation and regulations, facilitate interaction among stakeholders and promote collaboration with international counterparts in various matters as well as provide a national information infrastructure which would also cover remote areas.
As an expert in your country, what would be the five most important pillars of e-content development?
Access: ICT infrastructure (e.g. adequate bandwidth capacity and affordable and reliable Internet connections), computer hardware and software, publicly provided access need to be developed.
Government vision and leadership: Government decision-makers (including parliamentarians) should provide the necessary guidance to confront existing barriers and promote innovative solutions. Through government vision and leadership, stakeholders’ critical objectives can be aligned and the potential of new collaborative alliances unleashed to harness the power of ICT in general, and e-content in particular, for development.
People power/human capacity: Basic ICT information and training to increase user confidence in using both the technology (i.e. PC) and online content / applications / services (i.e. how to extract value from their use) needs to be provided.
Policy: A transparent and inclusive policy process must be established.
Awareness and integration: All the sections of society need to increase awareness of the benefits and uses of ICTs, identify and promote the value proposition of ICTs for all users in relevant and appropriate economic and social terms by focusing on the transformative effects of ICTs rather than on ICTs themselves. ICTs should be integrated into the social fabric of everyday life (i.e. in the functioning of communities and institutions) and technology should be embedded in people’s lifestyles and into the lives of local communities.
Please explain which is the most preferred medium for e-content development: Print, TV, the Internet, Radio, Mobile/Wireless or a combination of some of these?
Currently, it is Internet/Web, followed by CD-ROM and TV, which are are among the most preferred media for e-content development.
However, I argue that mobile/wireless and cross-media (TV/Radio with the Internet) should be considered to be the media for e-content development in Indonesia since the penetration of mobile phone, TV, and radio are much higher than the Internet.