SUKABUMI DISTRICT - As many as 600 developing and lagging villages in West Java immediately installed free wifi along with the launch of Digital Village in Sirnarasa Village, Cikakak District, Sukabumi Regency, Sunday (04/14/19).
West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil along with Minister of Communication and Information Rudiantara and Minister of Rural Development and Transmigration of Indonesia Eko Putro Sandjojo, symbolically launched the program witnessed by local villagers.
Desa Digital aims to provide internet access in villages that previously did not have an internet connection at all. More importantly, this program is to improve community literacy in various fields such as education by utilizing digital technology.
"In addition to infrastructure participation and increased digital literacy, it is hoped that each village will also be able to utilize information and communication channels, such as Instagram and Whatsapp Group to communicate with village officials and promote village potential," said Governor Ridwan Kamil.
With Desa Digital, villagers, especially the younger generation, can learn English through online training with overseas teachers. Residents can also watch useful shows that will be arranged by the village head.
"This will further open access to information, education and increase productivity as well as marketing local products," said the Governor.
Emil, Ridwan Kamil's nickname, hopes that the internet can stimulate village-owned enterprises (BUMDes) in promoting local products using e-commerce or market place channels.
With an internet connection, he continued, BUMDes can work with local startups using internet of things (IoT) to increase productivity and efficiency of economic activities. "In turn, people's welfare will increase through digital innovation," Emil said.
Digital Village is the fruit of cooperation between the West Java Provincial Government and the Telecommunications and Information Accessibility Agency (BAKTI) under the auspices of the Indonesian Ministry of Communication and Information.
In Digital Village in West Java, BAKTI is committed to installing a satellite-connected VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) in 600 villages that have a developing and lagging village scale index (IDM). At present 155 village VSAT points in 17 districts / cities have status on air after private vendors have installed them. These devices are installed in village halls, village offices, boarding schools, schools and health centers.
Currently West Java has 5,312 with a variety of IDM scales. With the cooperation of the central government, the Governor hopes that there will be 1,000 villages per year installed with wifi. "We request that the Minister (Communication and Information) be able to increase the number of villages and that the combination between the APBD and the target state budget of 1,000 villages per year can be sought," Emil said.
Minister of Communication and Information Rudiantara stressed that the community does not need to worry about the negative influence of the internet. Because the Ministry of Communication and Information will oversee and educate ICT volunteers (information and communication technology) who will be the residents' companions.
"To ward off negative influences from the internet in the village, residents and village heads will be educated. For example, news about hoaxes by friends of ICT volunteers," said Rudiantara.
The assistants, said the Minister, will also teach villagers how to utilize MSME opportunities through e-commerce and literacy to avoid negative content.
"Our aim is with the Governor, Digital Village so that the digital divide (community) will be thinned. Don't just be city people but all must feel (the internet)," said Rudiantara.
Welcomed by Enthusiastic Citizens
The presence of free wifi was welcomed by the residents of Sirnarasa Village. One resident, Gelang (45) said, the internet in his village would make it easier for citizens to market distinctive products and could introduce widely cultural arts that other villages did not have.
"My hope is that our village will be more advanced and successful, hopefully our income will increase, people will also be smart," he said.
Digital Village is a concept promoted by the Governor of West Java to minimize the digital divide between urban and rural areas.
The 600 villages are developing and lagging behind the recipients of free wifi are spread in 27 districts / cities. These lucky villages are proposals from West Java residents which are delivered directly to the Governor's social media.
Through the Jabar Digital Service system in the Office of Communication and Information Technology, the residents' proposals are then filtered by integrating data owned by the Community and Village Empowerment Service, the Education Office, and the KUK Office in West Java. As a result, 600 villages developed and left behind were screened as being deemed eligible for a wifi connection.
According to the Head of West Java Communication and Information Service Setyaji, with this free wifi the community can access a lot of positive information such as educational content, increase productivity, and marketing range of local products.
"With this connectivity, it opens up a space for communication between the government and the people directly while at the same time opening up access to the outside world to improve the economy of rural communities," he said.
In its application in 27 districts / cities, the West Java Provincial Government will involve volunteers who are information technology and computer (TIK) experts, as well as village assistants to jointly maintain village facilities and use them optimally.
Head of Prov. Community Empowerment and Village Service West Java Dedi Supandi ensures that assistance is carried out to ensure that the information opened is only positive and productive.
"Jabar Provincial Government actively opens opportunities for cooperation with external parties and start ups, such as Edubox and Teachcast with Oxford, which provide educational and informative content," he said.
This Digital Village in 600 villages complements almost the same program that has been carried out, namely the Digital Fisheries Village with e-fisheries. This village has been launched in Puntang Village, Indramayu Regency some time ago.
Later, it is expected that more digital villages in West Java will adjust the potential of each village. So that this digital village becomes a storefront or pilot of technological innovation synergized with village potential.