Connecting Ida to her grown children in the city

It’s definitely a simple, healthy life, that many would envy. Ida Korwa, a housewife, lives in Didiabolo, a village in Papua, Indonesia. It’s located on Biak, an island enclosed by white sand beaches. Fresh fish is a staple of the diet and the nearby jungle provides lots of greenery. Idyllic, except for one thing. Without a decent phone signal, Ida can’t stay in regular touch with her grown children who work in the nearby cities of Manokwari and Biak City.

Ida struggling to get a signal in her home

It’s a common problem in Indonesia, but one that’s increasingly dealt with. The national government has a national policy to provide everyone in the vast archipelago of 17,500 islands with a decent connection, no matter where they live. Huawei is working hard with its local partners to make that ambitious vision become reality. 

It’s definitely not an easy task. The seas surrounding the islands are often rough and deadly. And heavy rains often turn the roads on the islands into mud fields more fit for water buffaloes than for the SUVs that carry wireless communications equipment to the sites.

Life in Didiabolo is simple

Once he reached Didiabolo, Muhammad Umar Safi’I, a Huawei Indonesia Wireless Engineer, encountered an additional setback. The equipment was not being delivered to the site because of a disagreement over who was paying for what. “The construction team thought the cost would include delivery of the equipment to the site, but the cost only covered the transportation to the pier,” he recalls. 

Local leaders were mobilized. Didiabolo Village Chief Martinus Rumbaku reports that he met with central government officials at a police station in the nearby town of Korido. “We all discussed an agreement to deliver the material,” he says. 

Worked stopped at the site! Umar Safi’i (center) with village chief Rumbaku (right) and the district chief (left)

From then on, Umar Safi’i could move on with his job of deploying wireless communications equipment to specs, no matter where, and make sure it’s working as expected. Not long after, Didiabolo could enjoy life in a way that’s taken for granted in other parts of the world: networked.

“We’re happy that we no longer have to travel to connect,” Rumbaku says. “My children can now search for jobs and submit their job applications online.” 

As for Ida, she’s delighted that she not only can stay in regular touch with her grown children by video calls, she can look up new recipes online from within the confines of her kitchen, a simple thing that was impossible not long ago. 

William Xu

Work was eventually completed in Didiabolo

Huawei has developed a wide range of products, technologies, and knowhow to provide connectivity for the tens of millions of people around the world who are still unconnected. This includes low-cost antennas; solar power, batteries, and energy-management systems; and a vast range of microwave links that can reach isolated communities.

The solutions can be basic and highly affordable, or more sophisticated, depending on local needs. Huawei’s highly economical RuralStar solution represents a complete rethink of base station design. RuralStar is made up of robust but simple telecommunications components. The kit requires so little energy to operate that a few solar panels are enough. More complex “Butterfly Sites” are set up on taller antenna poles. They typically can provide network coverage over several frequency bands and can serve a wider territory because of their height. 

Watch Ida’s story below. And for more about Huawei's efforts to Connect the Unconnected, see our event of Nov. 23 2022 Sustainability event Connectivity+: Innovate for Impact