Indonesian churches enable online learning in rural areas
LWF National Committee in Indonesia builds towers for internet access
(LWI) - "The internet is for learning for the sake of increasing knowledge and skills, yet many have been left without access during the pandemic,” said the Lutheran World National Committee in Indonesia (KNLWF) Executive Secretary Rev. Basa Hutabarat when explaining the need for the KNLWF Internet Tower Development Program.
When stay-at-home measures were implemented due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the KNLWF wanted to increase access to the internet and began building satellite towers that receive internet connection from internet providers. The Indonesian committee installed an internet satellite tower on the properties of four Lutheran churches in remote areas to assist online learning.
“The strength of internet service in Indonesia depends on location,” said Fernando Sihotang, KNLWF Coordinator for Human Rights and Advocacy.
Internet service is provided through a base transceiver station, which is built within the tower. This means mountainous and remote areas without such towers would experience obstacles to quality, fast internet service or no service at all. “It is only in the larger cities where 4G and 5G service are easily accessible,” he added.
In order to make the internet service available to the residents in these four remote villages, KNLWF will initially pay the monthly subscription for the internet access. The four churches agreed to manage the maintenance of the towers. The KNLWF will pay the cost of the internet fees until December 2021, at which time the churches will take over the internet service subscription.
Access for everyone
The national committee also paid for the construction of the towers. The connection will reach approximately 500 meters around the church sites, allowing up to 50 people to use the internet at the same time. “This WiFi is open so that anyone can access it, including students from KNLWF congregations, " Hutabarat explained.
The towers are located on church land, but the connection is open and “everyone, from all faiths can freely access internet.” She added that with the internet access, church workers can share Bible knowledge and the Word of God in a “broader sense.”
“KNLWF believes that with wisdom, proficiency in interaction, and utilization of technology, digital access is a blessing from God.”
LWF Regional Secretary for Asia Rev. Dr Philip Lok said, “It is encouraging to see LWF member churches finding ways to ensure that certain communities are not left behind during these unprecedented times.”
The LWF National Committee in Indonesia is comprised of 13 member churches.