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Indonesia-Post and Telecommunications

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Indonesia Index

The national postal system was the most important means of communication for the majority of citizens. By the late 1980s, postal services were available in all subdistricts and in 844 transmigration areas. A substantial increase in the total number of post offices from about 2,800 in 1980 to 4,800 in 1989 improved the capacity and quality of this extensive communication network.

Indonesia had a sophisticated telecommunications system as a result of early investments in satellite communications. The first Indonesian Palapa satellite was launched in 1976 and was replaced in 1987 (Palapa was named for a vow of abstinence made by fourteenth-century prime minister Gajah Mada). A total of 130 earth stations supported long-distance direct dialing among 147 cities, and permitted international direct dialing to 147 countries. A total of 266 automatic telephone exchanges and 480 manual exchanges had a capacity of 1 million telephone lines, which was 80 percent utilized in 1990. New regulations in the late 1980s permitted secondary communications services, such as fax and cellular phone operations, to be supplied by private businesses in cooperation with the government's Directorate General of Radio, Television, and Film.

Television and radio communications were dominated by the government networks, Radio of the Republic of Indonesia (RRI) and Television Network of the Republic of Indonesia (TVRI). The satellite communication system brought television signals to every village in the country. In the early 1990s, there were some 11 million television sets or an average of 56 per 1,000 people nationwide. Broadcasting was received from eighteen governmentowned stations in major cities throughout the country and foreign cable news broadcasts and television programming via satellite. Starting in 1988, a private commercial television channel, Rajawali Citra Televisi Indonesia (RCTI), was permitted to operate in the Jakarta area, where it offered ninety hours of pay programs per week. In 1991 a second private television station started in Surabaya and in 1992 the government permitted six more stations to operate, expanding service in Central Java, southern Sumatra, Batam, and northern Sulawesi.

Radio broadcast stations and radio sets were numerous in Indonesia in the early 1990s. There were some 530 medium-wave, around 140 short-wave, and 28 FM privately owned stations and some 22 million sets or 112 sets per 1,000 people. Government-owned RRI, from its central station in Jakarta, offered national, metropolitan, and FM stereo domestic programming and daily foreign programs--The Voice of Indonesia--in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Indonesian, Japanese, Malay, Spanish, and Thai. These programs were broadcast from stations in Jakarta and Padangcermin in Lampung Province.

Data as of November 1992

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