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NEWS UPDATES 17 November 2009

Indonesia to spend big on fiber optic project

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Indonesian Communication and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring said Monday that the government would push for the commencement of the Palapa Ring fiber optic project for Eastern Indonesia by the end of this month, reported the Jakarta Post.

Tifatul said that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono would launch the Palapa Ring project on November 30. The Palapa Ring project aims to lay a 11,000-kilometer-long fiber optic cable in eastern part of Indonesia.

"This project is part of our ministry's 100-day programs," Tifatul was quoted by Antara as saying in Cibubur, Jakarta.

The consortium of investors for Palapa Ring project has complained about the lack of funding and government support for the project. The consortium members have shrunk to three telecom operators, from the original six. They include PT Telkom, PT Indosat and PT Bakrie Telecom.

Consortium members have committed to investing a total of $150 million for the project, of which $90 million from Telkom and $30 million each from Indosat and Bakrie.

Rakhmad Hidayat, chairman of the consortium, said the consortium would need additional funding, and therefore would ask for the government's involvement in the project, either as an investor or through incentives.

Tifatul said that his office was currently in talks with the Finance Ministry over the possibility to provide incentive supports for the project.


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