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And Then the Phone Went Dead

Threat to Tear Down 148 Telecommunication Towers May Disrupt Bali's Wireless Communication

(12/20/2008) Bali's main region of Badung may soon lose much of its wireless communication capacity if plans move ahead for the removal of 148 "unauthorized" transmission towers.

According to bisnis.com, a member of the Indonesian Telecommunications Regulation Agency (BRTI), Heru Sutadi, warned that a "black out" in telecommunications threatens all industries in Bali, the public and particularly the tourism industry all heavily dependent on good telecommunications service. Sutadi said his concerns regarding a possible "communications black out" is supported by a report received form the Indonesian Association of Cellular Telecommunications (ATSI).

The order to remove 148 towers is at seeming odds with a regulation issued by the Minister of Information and Communications (No. 2.2008) that stipulates existing tower should not be demolished, but their use shared among the existing telecommunication operators.

Yet, what's happening in Bali, claims Sutadi, are plans to remove 148 towers and allow only 43 towers built by a government-appointed contractor, PT Bali Towerindo, to be used by telecommunications operators.

According to bisnis.com, the Director General of Post and Telecommunications has raised questions of an illegal monopoly through the appointment of a single tower operator by Bali's provincial governments.

Also of concern surrounding the recent decision to remove 148 towers in the Badung region of Bali is the practical consideration that the time needed to migrate a transmission facility to a new tower can take as long as one year. Sutadi is also concerned that the reduced number of transmission towers in south Bali may be insufficient to handle the base transceivers currently in operation on the island.