Jakarta, TEMPO.CO – Jayapura City and its surrounding areas enter day 7 of the internet blackout on Thursday, May 6, 2021. Daily activities including the economy, education, government activities, and tourism have been heavily disrupted.
A resident of Jayapura, Hari Suroto of the Papua Archaeological Agency admitted that economic activities in the city were suspended and people’s income reduced. “Especially the small and medium enterprises, the local market place are very disturbed, their income has decreased a lot. Courier services also have their income decreased,” Hari said via a short message on Wednesday.
Hari himself had been using only phone and message services to communicate in the past week. “And it’s not always successful either,” he said.
Journalists based in Jayapura had difficulties sending their reports as many of them now rely a lot on the internet. Reports from the ground are limited.
He further told how the internet blackout affected online motorcycle taxi and taxi drivers. “They cannot get passengers from the apps and of course it reduces their income,” he said.
In the tourism sector, the people and tourists have difficulty accessing various accommodations, such as buying plane tickets or booking hotels, which normally can be done easily with applications.
“Passengers have to order tickets through relatives or friends outside Papua, who then send the ticket booking code via short message,” said Hari. Likewise, anyone who wants to stay at hotels in Papua must come to the hotel and book a room at the receptionist.
Airline passengers who had just arrived at the airports in Papua also had difficulty filling out the Health Ministry’s electronic Health Alert Card (e-HAC), a mandatory COVID-19 screening tool. They have to fill out the form manually, triggering a long queue.
The internet services in Jayapura City, Jayapura Regency, and Sarmi Regency have been disrupted since Friday due to broken submarine cables of state-owned telecommunication giant PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia (PT Telkom).
PT Telkom is still trying to restore the internet 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, as well as preparing to repair the broken submarine cables.
“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,” PT Telkom’s spokesperson Pujo Pramono said on Saturday.