On February 29, 2008, Friday, the internet traffic capacity of PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Telkom) was down to 10 percent as undersea cable to Singapore, which connect the country to the rest of the world, failed to function.(The Jakarta Post: Internet capacity down to 10%)
Despite being the main provider for internet traffic connection, however, Telkom said its fiber optic failure did not completely cut internet services.
"We are still trying to identify what caused the connection failure," Telkom spokesperson Edy Kurnia told The Jakarta Post.
"We have sent a ship and a crew directly from Singapore to investigate."
Edy said traffic capacity would be back to speed on Saturday after the Jakarta-Singapore connection was re-routed.
He said the re-route would use an alternative fiber optic connection, a satellite connection and digital radio transmissions.
The connection failure to Singapore happened amid already-disrupted Jakarta-Palembang fiber optic connections, which started Wednesday due to toll road construction in Palembang.
A re-routing of traffic would be temporary, Edy said.
The last time Indonesia's internet connection with the rest of the world was lost was in December 2006 when an earthquake off Taiwan measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale damaged undersea cables.
The damaged cables not only disrupted internet connections, but also telephone services across Asia after connections to main servers in the U.S. were severed.
Heru Sutadi, a member of the Indonesia Telecommunication Regulatory Body, said the undersea connection could have been disrupted by an earthquake or a failure of electronic machinery.
"It could be due to decaying machines or cables," he said.
Some of the fiber optics used for the Jakarta-Singapore connections were from the 1990s.
Heru said new companies as well as Telkom, PT Indosat and Excelcomindo were planning to invest in fiber optic connections, which would provide more alternatives for internet traffic and telephone connections.
Indonesian Internet Providers Association chairwoman Sylvia Sumarlin said a slowdown in connection speed was felt throughout the city but that no terminations occurred.
"Telecommunication operators and internet providers have learned from past experiences that they cannot rely solely on one route," she said.
"That is why when Telkom's connection is out, the backup connections automatically activate."
To further secure connectivity to other internet hubs other than Singapore the development of the so called Palapa Ring Project must be accelerated.
The Palapa Ring is an ambitious project which aims to link Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, Nusa Tenggara, Sulawesi, Maluku and Papua and eight existing network connections or backhauls through an estimated total 35,280 kilometers undersea and 21,870 kilometers of underground fiber-optic cable.