Telkom Indonesia's new fixed broadband network is passing premises at a rate of 36,000 per day as the operator pulls out all the stops to reach its objective of 15 million premises by the end of the year.
During a presentation at CommunicAsia in Singapore, Revolin Simulsyah, executive general manager of Telkom Indonesia's broadband division, said that by the end of 2013, his company had covered 8.2 million premises, leaving it with 6.8 million to pass to hit target.
This is no mean feat, because "there is very little existing fixed-line infrastructure," he said.
If Telkom Indonesia is able to maintain a rate of 36,000 per day, adding 6.8 million premises to its footprint will take a little over six months. Keeping the momentum going is difficult and Simulsyah is relying on a combination of subsidiaries and local and global partners to deploy its infrastructure as quickly as possible.
Equally as impressive as the speed of deployment is the expense. Simulsyah said the cost of the network works out at approximately $280 per household. While that is a sizeable amount given the relatively low ARPUs in Indonesia, it is still significantly less than operators have spent in some major Western markets.
To keep costs down, Telkom Indonesia held an extremely competitive tender process. It is also selective about the technology it chooses to deploy. In what it calls high-value areas, such as commerce centres and dense urban environments, it makes sense to put fibre all the way to the premises, Simulsyah said. In less densely-populated areas that already have some fixed infrastructure, Telkom Indonesia will deploy fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC). However, in some cases there is no pre-existing last mile infrastructure, so the operator is deploying FTTC and making the final step to customers' front doors using metro WiFi access points.
While 15 million premises is a remarkable achievement, it's worth noting that this is still a modest number compared to the total number of households in Indonesia – 65 million.
Furthermore, Simulsyah made no comment about take-up of the service.
The government has set a target of making 1 Mbps broadband available to 100% of the urban and 52% of the rural population by 2019. This in turn is part of a broader economic plan to see the country's average per capita income rise to as much as $15,500 by 2025. According to the World Bank, that figure stood at less than $3,500 in 2012.