Jayapura, Jubi – Internet services in Jayapura City have been disrupted since Friday, April 30, 2021, due to broken submarine cables of state-owned telecommunication giant PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia (PT Telkom).
PT Telkom’s spokesperson Pujo Pramono said that the cables of the Sulawesi Maluku Papua Cable System (SMPCS) for the Biak-Sarmi section were broken and put internet and phones services in Jayapura City, Jayapura Regency, and Sarmi Regency to a halt on Friday night.
“We apologize for the inconvenience experienced by customers and the people in the affected Jayapura and surrounding areas. We will try to accelerate the recovery so that the quality of service can return to normal soon,” said Pramono on Saturday.
Pramono said that telephone and messaging services had been restored on Saturday at 00.45 a.m local time. However, as of Tuesday, internet connections are still running slow. Pramono said the company was still trying to restore the internet data services gradually by optimizing the capacity of the satellite, terrestrial radio communication system, and support from other infrastructure including utilization of the East Palapa Ring network.
PT Telkom’s Senior Vice President Corporate Communication Ahmad Reza claimed on Sunday that the bandwidth capacity had increased from 500 Mbps to 969 Mbps on Saturday and would gradually increase to 1,574 Mbps on Tuesday and 2,574 Mbps next week, news agency Antara reported.
Reza said the submarine cables were broken due to natural factors without further elaboration. The broken cables were 2,700 meters deep below sea level and located 360 kilometers from Jayapura.
PT Telkom’s Papua General Manager Sugeng Widodo estimated the broken cable’s repair would take a month to prepare the ship, loading materials permit, and others. “Hopefully we can finish it in time. We ask the people to be patient,” he said.
The internet slowdown occurs amid the escalated violence in Puncak Regency following President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s order to capture all members of the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) while labeling the group terrorist last week.
Head of the Papua Communication and Information Agency (Kominfo) Office Jery A Yudianto, however, denied that recent internet blackout was an internet ban from the government or related to political matters. “It’s purely technical and unexpected incident, it has nothing to do with politics or anything else. We ask the people to be patient,” Yudianto said.
In August 2019, the Indonesian government intentionally blocked data streams in Papua and West Papua during heightened security tensions following antiracism protests in the two provinces. The Jakarta State Administrative Court (PTUN) later declared the internet shutdown a violation of the law by government bodies or officials, as it restricted access to information about conditions in the region crippled by riots.