NUNUKAN, North Kalimantan: Indonesia launched digital TV broadcast in Nunukan, North Kalimantan province on Saturday (Aug 31), in a move to develop its remote border areas.
North Kalimantan, which borders east Malaysia, was part of East Kalimantan province. It became a new province in 2013, making it the youngest province in Indonesia.
The region is largely underdeveloped compared to the two neighbouring Malaysian states - Sabah to the north and Sarawak to the east - so residents have had to watch Malaysian television channels for information and entertainment.
Launching the digital TV broadcast on Saturday, Indonesia's information and communication minister Mr Rudiantara said he hopes that better access to quality television will improve the lives of people in North Kalimantan.
“There are several benefits of having digital TV. First of all, there will be better quality television, no more fuzzy television," the minister said.
"Secondly, if it’s still using the analog system, because it’s an old system, it uses up frequency."
Mr Rudiantara added that the frequencies should be allocated to a much-needed disaster communication system since Indonesia is prone to natural disasters.
DIGITAL TV FOR NEW CAPITAL
Digital TV has been in development in Indonesia since 2007, but due to regulation issues, large parts of the vast archipelago are still dependent on analog TV.
Moving forward, the digital system is being prepared for Indonesia’s new capital in East Kalimantan, Mr Rudiantara revealed.
Last week, President Joko Widodo announced that the country’s capital would move from Jakarta to East Kalimantan province, in a location that's partly in Penajam Paser Utara regency and partly in Kutai Kartanegara regency.
READ: New Indonesian capital offers opportunities for development, but environmental pitfalls abound
“So the government and telecommunication operators are currently designing a new network in Kalimantan,” Rudiantara said during the launch.
Saturday’s digital TV launch was also marked by officials of national TV station TVRI, Trans 7 and Metro TV. They handed out setup boxes for digital TV to a few villagers of Nunukan.
“The hope is that this (digital TV) will be used to the maximum, this is only the launch so hopefully this will continue onwards, not only today, and it will reach every district (in North Kalimantan),” Nunukan Regent Mdm Asmin Laura Hafid said.