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Telecommunications Policy ()

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Telecommunications Policy
URL: www.elsevier.com/locate/telpol

Spatial inequality and the Internet divide in Indonesia


20102012
Sujarwoto Sujarwoto a,n, Gindo Tampubolon b
a
b

Brawijaya University, Malang, Indonesia


University of Manchester, United Kingdom

a r t i c l e i n f o

Keywords:
Spatial inequality
Internet divide
Indonesia

abstract
Spatial inequality has been one of the key development characteristics considered across
developing countries. However, relatively few studies examine the mechanisms by which
spatial inequality explains the existing digital divide in a developing country. Applying the
normalisation and stratication thesis in diffusion theory, this study examines the ways in
which spatial inequality is related to the Internet divide in Indonesia, a developing
country that is currently growing in its use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), but that has experienced unequal regional development in the last three decades. Data comes from the Indonesian national socio-economic survey (Susenas) 2010
2012, which comprises 3.3 million individuals, 750,000 households and 292 districts. Far
from moving towards convergence, the Internet divide expanded during this period; the
inequality of Internet access by age, gender, income, and education deepens and widens
across urbanrural, citycountryside, and remote islandmainland island areas. The
results of analyses using both stratied and multilevel models indicate that supply factors
across districts particularly district disparities in telecommunications infrastructures,
human capital and education services are associated with the Internet divide. The
results are robust against individual, household and district socio-economic characteristics associated with the Internet divide. Enlarging the distribution of telecommunication
infrastructures and education facilities, particularly across districts in rural, countryside
and remote islands, may thus help to bridge the Internet divide in Indonesia.
& 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction
The debate about the impact of the rise of the information society has produced deeply contested visions predicting the
future direction of trends (Norris, 2001; Van Dijk & Hacker, 2003; Hargittai, 2002; Warschauer, 2003; Dutta & Mia, 2007).
Optimists hope that the development of the Internet will have the capacity to reduce, although not wholly eradicate, traditional inequalities between the information-rich and the information-poor both between and within societies (Norris,
2001; Van Dijk & Hacker, 2003; Hargittai, 2002; Warschauer, 2003). In contrast, pessimists believe that ICTs will reinforce
and exacerbate existing disparities. Sceptics suggest that both the fears and hopes are exaggerated, with technologies
adapting to the social and political status quo, rather than vice-versa (Norris, 2001; Dutta & Mia, 2007).

Corresponding author.
E-mail addresses: sujarwoto@ub.ac.id (S. Sujarwoto), gindo.tampubolon@manchester.ac.uk (G. Tampubolon).

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.telpol.2015.08.008
0308-5961/& 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Please cite this article as: Sujarwoto, S., & Tampubolon, G. Spatial inequality and the Internet divide in Indonesia 2010
2012. Telecommunications Policy (2016), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.telpol.2015.08.008i

S. Sujarwoto, G. Tampubolon / Telecommunications Policy ()

Norris (2001), further makes a distinction between normalisation and stratication models of ICT diffusion. Normalisation thesis suggests that over time, access to the Internet will become widespread, overcoming social and other
boundaries, to make its day-to-day use appear normal. This thesis suggests that the prole of the online community will
come to reect society as a whole, given the wider availability of simpler and cheaper plug-and-play technologies and faster
broadband services, facilitating delivery of popular mass entertainment (Norris, 2001; Dutta & Mia, 2007). It is presupposed
that the differences between groups increase only in the early stages of adoption, and that those differences disappear with
saturation in the last stages. Certainly, the ubiquity of ready devices such as Wi-Fi networks, tablets and smartphones
enabling access to the Internet supports this notion.
In contrast, the stratication thesis draws on experience with older technologies (such as the telegraph, automobiles, or
telephones in the twentieth century) to suggest that if Internet technology traces the same path, then the notion of a rise in
social inequality in terms of access cannot be easily dismissed (Norris, 2001; Hargittai, 2002). Although social stratication is
not inevitable, depending as it does on, state intervention to provide enabling infrastructure and ensure equitable distribution and the nature of skills required to use the technology, digital access may persist in dividing groups in society. This
outcome is far from inevitable, because the conditions under which innovations implemented are also determined, in part,
by their social consequences. The existing social structure may thus, also play a role; as Rogers (2003) pointed out, innovation in highly stratied societies usually reinforces existing socioeconomic inequalities. Norris (2001) provides empirical
evidence that, despite the high rate of penetration of ICTs in Europe and the United States, the digital divide between and
within countries is still perceptible.
This study attempts to make a distinction between normalisation and stratication theses in the context of a developing
country. A more nuanced understanding of the nature of ICT diffusion can be gained through examining the links between
widening spatial inequality within a developing country and the digital divide. Amidst growing concern about increasing
inequality, the spatial dimensions of inequality have begun to attract considerable policy interest (Lessmann, 2014; Kanbur,
Rhee & Zhuang 2014; Tan & Zeng, 2014). In China, Russia, India, Mexico and South Africa, as well as most other developing
and transition economies, there is a sense that spatial and regional disparities in economic activity, incomes and social
indicators have been on the increase in the last two decades (Kanbur et al., 2014; Kanbur & Venables, 2005). For developing
countries that experience deep disparities across space, information and communication technology offers a sliver of hope
for bridging these disparities. However, spatial inequality with regard to ICT access may itself become a development
challenge, given the growth of Internet use. The gaps in physical access continue to grow in these developing countries; the
question is when and to what extent they will close again, equalising access for every social category (according to either
normalisation or stratication). A deeper analysis of these types of spatial inequality and the mechanisms explaining
unequal ICT access would prove a signicant contribution to developing countries efforts to address the digital divide.
This study aims to answer some of the questions raised by examining the mechanism linking determinants producing
spatial inequality with respect to the Internet divide in Indonesia. It is also often cited as an emerging economic success
(World Bank, 2008). However, its economic development is characterised by an endemic problem of spatial inequalities
(Akita & Lukman, 1995; Hill, 1996; Resosudarmo & Vidyattama, 2006; Hill, Resosudarmo & Vidyattama, 2008; Yusuf, Sumer
& Rum, 2014). We thus, also consider in some depth whether these spatial inequalities reinforce the social inequalities in
Internet access. In this study, spatial inequality means a disparity in resources and services due to discrepancies in social and
economic factors across geography (Kanbur & Venables, 2005). Four measures of spatial inequality related to Internet access
are used: economy, human capital, telecommunication infrastructure, and education services. In order to achieve the aim of
this study, annual data from Susenas 20102012 were studied using multilevel models to account for the effect of spatial
inequality across districts on unequal Internet access among individuals. The next section presents a synthesis of the literature on spatial inequality and the digital divide.

2. Spatial inequality and the digital divide


The notion that the Internet could reduce the economic importance of geographic distance has been discussed in the
literature (Negroponte, 1995; Kelly, 1998; Cairncross, 2001). Cairncross (2001) describes the narrative of the Internet as the
death of distance. The Internet, many believe, will level the playing eld for people both near and far from the centre. It
allows people to communicate over distance and thus, lifts the constraints of geography. Some believe that this will not only
change the social world but will also effectively eliminate distance as a cost factor (Grimes, 2000). According to this view,
the economy would work in a space, rather than a place; the cost of transport would be drastically reduced, distance would
become less important, and peripheral regions would benet from opportunities that were not available in the economy
based on the manufacturing industry (Negroponte, 1995; Kelly, 1998). Since ICTs are mainly based on immaterial and human
capital investments, regions or areas that have historically suffered from isolation, high transportation costs, or a lack of
physical private and public infrastructure might nd new paths for growth. Consequently, according to this view, the
concentration of income opportunities and wealth should decrease over time (Compaine, 2001). Although other predictions
were also present in the debate on the impact of the digital economy (Norris, 2001), this view was largely dominant.
However, in the same way that normalisation is not only the thesis used to organise evidence regarding Internet access,
the death of distance is not the only narrative by which to explain the nature of ICT access across and within countries. In
fact, this relationship is not merely about geographic proximity but also reects spatial inequalities. Indeed, spatial
Please cite this article as: Sujarwoto, S., & Tampubolon, G. Spatial inequality and the Internet divide in Indonesia 2010
2012. Telecommunications Policy (2016), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.telpol.2015.08.008i

S. Sujarwoto, G. Tampubolon / Telecommunications Policy ()

inequalities themselves are an endemic feature of regional development in most developing and transition countries
(Kanbur et al., 2014; Kanbur & Venables, 2005). In these countries, differences in economic development still shape the rate
of the diffusion of technologies at the rm, regional and country levels. The reasons behind these stylised facts have been
investigated at length in recent times. The geo-spatial digital divide could emerge as a consequence of the rise of ICTs
(Rallet & Rochelandet, 2007). In addition, the rise of Internet use may also have the potential to exacerbate any existing
spatial inequality in developing and transition countries (Norris, 2001).
The overall empirical reality is one of large geographic differences in the rate of diffusion of ICTs, with the result that
disparities and inequalities seem to be reinforced, rather than reduced by these technologies. Cross-country studies have
revealed the disparities in ICT between North America and Europe, on the one hand, and African and Asian countries on the
other (Chinn & Fairlie, 2007; Oyelaran-Oyeyinka & Lal, 2005; Pohjola, 2003). These studies have identied some mechanisms by which determinants producing spatial inequality relate to the digital divide. First, these large digital disparities have
been explained by differences in economic capital. Disparities of economic capital distribution such as income and gross
domestic product are positively associated with the Internet divide (Norris, 2001; Van Dijk, 2012). As the Internet has
become increasingly central to life, work and play providing job opportunities, strengthening community networks and
facilitating educational advancement the systematic exclusion of certain groups and areas, such as poorer regions and
communities, becomes even more important (Norris, 2001).
Second, inequality in human capital increases unequal access to the Internet. The unequal development of human capital
meaning investment in digital skills and capacities through education, training, and lifelong learning represents one of the
most important factors that facilitate Internet access. Education is one of the most signicant forms of social development,
producing the skills and experiences that are most likely to contribute to the use of ICTs. Academic institutions may also play
an important role in spreading ICTs because they are often among the rst institutions in a nation to become wired. Unequal
distribution and unequal access to education may therefore lead to a digital divide. Wilson, Wallin, and Reiser (2003),
explained that the numbers of Internet users are greatly affected by whether access is offered in schools, community centres,
cybercafs, and/or post-ofces, especially in poor countries where computer access at work and home is highly limited.
Third, disparities in the distribution of telecommunications infrastructures result in a digital divide (Rao, 2005; Mariscal,
2005). Individuals need access to computers, landlines, mobile phones and networks in order to access the Internet.
Landline networks and satellite facilities cannot be deployed as extensively as they can in developed countries. In many poor
countries such as Indonesia, basic telecommunications services are still unavailable to some people on remote islands.
Unequal access to telecommunications infrastructures and services constitutes one of the challenges to bridging the digital
divide, and remedying it should be an objective of all stakeholders in developing countries.

3. Internet growth and regional development in Indonesia


Indonesia provides an interesting case for the examination of spatial inequality and the Internet divide in developing
countries. Internet growth in Indonesia has shown promising trends in the last two decades. Nielsens Southeast Asian
Digital Consumer (2013), reports that Indonesias Internet penetration rate is at 21%, growing at 20% annually since 2003.
Semiocast (2013), reported that the country was one of the biggest users of Twitter and Facebook after the United States,
India and Brazil. In 2012, there were 71.19 million Internet users in Indonesia or about 28% of Indonesias population; these
numbers are in line with world Internet growth. The country is also often cited as an emerging economic success in
Southeast Asia (World Bank, 2008). Indonesias economic growth has been robust since the Asian nancial crisis in 1998,
and it appears well positioned with an average annual growth of 46% since 2002 (World Bank, 2008). The poverty
headcount ratio at $1.25 (PPP) decreased sharply from 47.7% in 1999 to 16.2% in 2011. The Human Development Index also
increased sharply from 0.479 in 1990 to 0.624 in 2011 (World Bank, 2013).
Despite its impressive economic growth, Indonesias socio-economic development has been characterised by deep
spatial inequalities across regions. Biro Pusat Statistik (2014), recently reported that the overall Gini Index increased from
0.33 in 2002 to 0.41 point in 2013. Inequality is greater in urban areas with patterns closely aligned to total trends, while
rural inequality is consistently lower than urban inequality by approximately 7 points between 2002 and 2013 (Biro Pusat
Statistik, 2014). As Indonesia is characterised by many remote and isolated areas due to the archipelagic nature of the
country, geographic location, along with the relative openness of trade and market operations, can restrict growth and the
development process, allowing some areas to develop faster than others (Vidyattama, 2010). Gaps in human capital and
infrastructure endowments, which are often themselves a product of differing development experiences, hinder current and
future development and thereby exacerbate regional disparities (Vidyattama, 2010). Equality in access to education is still an
issue in Indonesia (Suryadarma, Suryahadi, Sumarto & Rogers, 2006). Although national data show a net school enrolment
ratio of 98% for primary schools in 2010, enrolment is still only 86.2% for junior high school and 56% for senior high school.
Gaps in telecommunications infrastructure across regions also appear, with 80% of the countrys Internet activities taking
place in Java while 60% of the countrys population occupies the island. Indonesia has six major islands and thousands of
smaller ones, and the majority of the central and eastern parts of the country have yet to see consistent electricity connections, let alone Internet (Biro Pusat Statistik, 2012).
The socio-economic history of each of Indonesias regions plays a role in the disparities seen among them, particularly
with regard to the presence or lack of political and governing institutions to facilitate development (Hill et al., 2008). The
Please cite this article as: Sujarwoto, S., & Tampubolon, G. Spatial inequality and the Internet divide in Indonesia 2010
2012. Telecommunications Policy (2016), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.telpol.2015.08.008i

S. Sujarwoto, G. Tampubolon / Telecommunications Policy ()

Table 1
Sample characteristics.

Internet divide
Access Internet
Not access Internet
District
GDP (in Trillion rupiah)
Gini index
Disparity in human capital
Disparity in telecommunication
infrastructures
Electricity access
Landline networks
Mobile phone access
Cybercaf access
Base transceiver station
Mobile phone signal coverage
Disparity in education services
Spending for telecommunication
services and infrastructures (in
Billion rupiah)
Spending for education services (in
Billion rupiah)
Household
Household expenditure (in Million
rupiah)
Residential status
Urban areas
Rural areas
Landline telephone
Yes
No
Computer ownership
Yes
No
Mobile phone ownership
Yes
No
Individual
Age
Gender
Female
Male
Education
University
High school
Secondary school and below
Employment status
Employed
Unemployed
Poverty
o US 2$ per day
4US 2$ per day

2010

2011

2012

Mean 7 SD or % Correlation with


Internet divide

Mean7 SD or % Correlation with


Internet divide

Mean 7 SD or % Correlation with


Internet divide

9%
91%

10%
90%

12%
88%

18.8 730.2
0.38 7 0.042
0.26 7 0.06

0.320*
 0.216*
 0.210*

19.9 7 31.2
0.41 70.046
0.25 70.07

0.411*
 0.221*
 0.310*

21.2 732.4
0.417 0.048
0.25 7 0.06

0.121*
 0.190*
 0.198*

0.56 7 0.12
0.687 0.35
0.23 7 0.15
0.89 7 0.19
0.89 7 0.14
0.357 0.27
0.92 7 0.12
1407 22.5

 0.561*
 0.213*
 0.242*
 0.104*
 0.113*
 0.321*
 0.210*
0.109*

130 722.1

 0.420*
 0.210*
 0.210*
 0.105*
 0.141*
 0.220*
 0.231*
0.105*

0.217 0.29
0.677 0.34
0.167 0.15
0.72 7 0.30
0.82 7 0.13
0.117 0.21
0.90 7 0.13
1427 29.7

 0.431*
 0.180*
 0.210*
 0.113*
 0.128*
 0.230*
 0.214*
0.110*

208 7 149

0.218*

208 7 153

0.320*

284 7 215

0.211*

1.05 7 0.97

0.340*

1.0770.98

0.217*

1.09 7 0.97

0.210*

45%
55%

0.210*
 0.210*

41%
59%

0.311*
 0.311*

49%
57%

0.231*
 0.231*

8%
92%

0.320*
 0.320*

7%
93%

0.221*
 0.221*

6%
94%

0.120*
 0.120*

11%
89%

0.421*
 0.421*

12%
88%

0.320*
 0.320*

15%
85%

0.312*
 0.321*

75%
25%

0.310*
 0.310*

78%
22%

0.230*
 0.230*

84%
16%

0.321*
 0.321*

287 19

 0.210*

287 19

 0.312*

297 19

 0.221*

50%
50%

 0.101*
0.101*

50%
50%

 0.123*
0.123*

52%
48%

 0.108*
0.108*

13%
35%
52%

0.312*
0.142*
 0.210*

13%
36%
51%

0.362*
0.160*
 0.120*

14%
37%
49%

0.381*
0.132*
 0.231*

93.9%
6.1%

0.111*
 0.111*

93.8%
6.2%

0.101*
 0.101*

93.7%
6.3%

0.104*
 0.104*

46.1%
53.9%

 0.310*
0.310*

43.3%
56.7%

 0.245*
0.245*

41.1%
58.9%

 0.110*
0.110*

Reported *p o0.05.

presence of natural resources also plays a signicant role in regional disparities in Indonesia, with regions that are heavily
endowed with abundant natural resources such as oil and gas more likely to have higher GDP per capita than those without.
This study aims to understand whether and to what extent these determinants producing spatial inequality are associated
with the Internet divide in Indonesia.

Please cite this article as: Sujarwoto, S., & Tampubolon, G. Spatial inequality and the Internet divide in Indonesia 2010
2012. Telecommunications Policy (2016), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.telpol.2015.08.008i

S. Sujarwoto, G. Tampubolon / Telecommunications Policy ()

4. Data and method


4.1. Susenas 20102012 and ofcial statistics
The individual data used in the analysis are taken from the National Socioeconomic Survey (Susenas) 20102012. Susenas
is one of the oldest and the best-regarded national representative surveys in developing countries (Friedman & Levinsohn,
2002; Ravallion & Lokshin, 2007); it is also the only one in Indonesia that covers the whole archipelago (Pradhan, Suryahadi,
Sumarto, & Pritchett, 2001; Biro Pusat Statistik, 2009). Conducted by the governments Central Bureau of Statistics, it has
been elded yearly since 1993 and is representative at the district level. The annual sample size is about 250,000 households
(close to 1.2 million individuals) (Biro Pusat Statistik, 2009), in all districts in the country. During the three years analysed,
more than one hundred new districts emerged as a result of district splits. In such cases, the data from the split districts
were aggregated and assigned to the original district denition. Variables to track the year and the number of child districts
for each split were used. The 1998, pre-decentralisation, district denition frame, which comprised 292 districts were
applied. This practise follows Dreze and Sen (2002), and Kruse, Pradhan, and Sparrow (2012).
The survey instrument contains a core questionnaire, which collects information regarding the socio-demographic characteristics of individuals and households, their education, labour market activities, and access to various ICTs including
landlines, mobile phones, personal computers/laptops, and the Internet. The Susenas data is linked with the Indonesian Village
Potential Census (PODES) and ofcial statistics. First, PODES data provides information about the distribution of telecommunications infrastructures such as electricity, landline networks, internet cafs, and mobile phone signal networks across
districts. PODES data also provides information on the distribution of education facilities across districts. Second, the district
GDP and Gini index data 20102012 were used, all retrieved from the governments Central Bureau of Statistics. Third, district
spending on telecommunications and education services was included in the model to determine whether more district
spending on human capital and telecommunications development relates to Internet access. Data on district spending on
telecommunications services and infrastructures as well as education services were retrieved from the Ministry of Finance.
4.2. Measures of the Internet divide
The Internet divide is measured by a dummy variable indicating individual access to the Internet. In the survey,
respondents were asked whether they had accessed the Internet in the last three months with the question have you
accessed the Internet within the last three months?) (Biro Pusat Statistik, 2010). The survey denes access to the Internet as
a connection made by respondents to an Internet enabling system such as a computer terminal, laptop, PC/computer, and
mobile device (Biro Pusat Statistik, 2010). The Internet divide is described using the socio-demographic characteristics of
individuals who either had or did not have access to the Internet. Differential access to the Internet is related to individuals
and their characteristics, including income level, education, employment, age and gender (Van Dijk, 2012). Table 1 presents
sample characteristics in this study.
4.3. Measures of spatial inequality
Spatial inequality is dened as a disparity in resources and services due to discrepancies in social and economic factors
across geography (Kanbur & Venables, 2005). In this study, across geography means districts within a country. Four
measures of spatial inequality related to Internet access are used in this study. First, the Gini Index is a standard measure of
spatial inequality of economic capital (Kanbur & Venables, 2005). Studies found that a higher Gini Index related to a digital
divide (Kiiski & Matti, 2002). Second, to examine whether spatial inequality in human capital relates to a digital divide,
district disparities in education outcomes were used as a proxy for spatial inequality in human capital Kanbur and Venables
(2005). Third, spatial inequality in telecommunication infrastructure is measured by district disparities in the availability of
telecommunication infrastructures such as electricity, landline networks, mobile phones, cybercafs, mobile phone signal
networks, and base transceiver stations. Prior studies found that the Internet access between and within countries are
related to the availability of these telecommunication infrastructures (Norris, 2001; Quibria, Ahmed, Tschang & ReyesMacasaquit, 2003). Fourth, spatial inequality in education services is measured by district disparities in higher education
facilities (colleges and universities). Studies suggest that the presence of colleges and universities is important support for
Internet penetration (Norris, 2001; Wilson et al., 2003; Mossberger, Tolbert & Stansbury, 2003).
The Palma ratio is adopted to measure district disparities in human capital, telecommunications services and education
services (Palma, 2011). In this study, district disparity in human capital is measured by the ratio of the largest 10% of
university graduates divided by the smallest 40%s share within a district. Likewise, district disparity in electricity services is
measured by the ratio of the largest 10% of people who have access to electricity divided by the smallest 40%s share within a
district.
4.4. Individual and district control variables
Control variables include individual and district variables related to the Internet divide. Studies have identied that
access to the Internet has been linked to a number of individual demographic and socio-economic characteristics, among
Please cite this article as: Sujarwoto, S., & Tampubolon, G. Spatial inequality and the Internet divide in Indonesia 2010
2012. Telecommunications Policy (2016), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.telpol.2015.08.008i

S. Sujarwoto, G. Tampubolon / Telecommunications Policy ()

them age, income, education, gender, and geographic location (i.e. urbanrural, big cities-small cities, and mainland-remoteisland) (Wilson et al., 2003; Warschauer, 2003; Dutton, Shepherd & di-Gennaro, 2007; Mosberger et al., 2003). Multiple
regression analysis across countries has shown that income levels and educational attainment are identied as providing
the most powerful explanatory variables for digital media access (Quibria et al., 2003; Hilbert, 2010). As for geographic
location, people living in urban centres have more access to computer services than those in rural areas. Gender was
previously thought to provide an explanation for the digital divide, with many believing that digital media use male
dominated; however, controlled statistical analysis has shown that income, education and employment act as confounding
variables and that females actually tend to embrace digital media to a greater degree than do males with the same level of
income, education and employment (Ono & Zavodny, 2003; Hilbert, 2010; Brannstrom, 2012).
Household expenditure is used as proxy of income, this information is biased and difcult to assess in many developing
countries, particularly in subsistence farming households. Income data is typically prone to under-reporting and measurement error, with the contribution of individual production and in-kind transfers often overlooked. Household expenditure is, thus a more accurate measure of household economic resources, both in developing and developed countries
(Deaton & Zaidi, 2002; Jorgensen, 2002). Since price levels of consumer goods and services in Indonesia vary across the
country (Strauss et al., 2004), the amount of household expenditure has been deated with the consumer price index for
urban and rural regions. Rural ination is taken to be 5% higher than urban ination (Resosudarmo & Jotzo, 2009). This
calculation produces real spending adjusted for urban and rural ination. The Consumer Prices Index data were retrieved
from the governments Central Bureau of Statistics (Biro Pusat Statistik, 2009).
District gross domestic product is used to determine whether district economic development may relate to the Internet
divide. District spending on education and telecommunications services and infrastructures was used to examine whether
district spending capacity on telecommunications services and infrastructures, and human capital development relates to
the Internet divide. These variables are particularly important given the decentralisation process that Indonesia has been
undergoing since 2001. Decentralisation is one of the well-known features in contemporary Indonesia that cannot be
ignored, especially when discussing spatial disparity among districts in the country (World Bank, 2007). Appendix A provides detailed information about each variable.
Table 2
Internet access across social groups and geography 20102012.
Variables
Age
Young ( o25 )
Middle (2550)
Old ( 450)
youngmiddle age
youngold
Gender
Male
Female
malefemale
Education
University
High school
Secondary school and below
universitysecondary school
high schoolsecondary school
Poverty
Non poor ( 42US$ per day)
Poor ( o2US$ per day)
non-poorpoor
Job status
Employed
Unemployed
employedunemployed
City areas
Cities
Country side
citiescountryside
Mainremote islands
Main islands
Remote islands
mainlandremote islands
Urbanrural areas
Urban areas
Rural areas
Urbanrural areas

2010 (%)

2011 (%)

2012 (%)

11
8
1
3
8

16
8
1
8
15

18
10
1
8
15

9
8
1

11
9
2

14
11
3

36
17
2
34
15

39
19
3
36
16

44
21
4
40
17

9
1
8

14
4
11

17
5
12

13
11
2

15
11
4

17
11
6

21
7
133

27
7
20

31
9
22

9
1
8

11
1
10

13
3
10

15
4
11

19
4
15

22
5
17

Please cite this article as: Sujarwoto, S., & Tampubolon, G. Spatial inequality and the Internet divide in Indonesia 2010
2012. Telecommunications Policy (2016), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.telpol.2015.08.008i

S. Sujarwoto, G. Tampubolon / Telecommunications Policy ()

4.5. Statistical analysis


Several steps to analyse the data were used. First, to identify either convergence or divergence of Internet access, the
percentage of digital access across socio-economic and demographic characteristics (i.e. age, gender, job status, education
and household expenditure) was calculated. Age is divided into three categories (youngo25, middle-aged 2550, and
old4 50). Educational attainment is divided into three categories (university, high school, secondary school and below). Job
status is divided into employed and unemployed. Household expenditure levels are divided into poor and non-poor. Poverty
is measured by the World Bank poverty line (households with consume under US $2 per day) (World Bank, 2013).
Second, to examine the link between district spatial inequalities and the Internet divide, multilevel models were used.
These models can be used to address spatial heterogeneity, assuming that the association between the dependant variable
and its covariates varies between district and individual levels (Ballas & Tranmer, 2012). Hence, the models account for the
clustering of individuals in districts by separating individual variance in Internet access from district variance (Rabe-Hesketh
& Skrondal, 2012). The links between district spatial inequality and Internet divide can thus be examined appropriately. We
follow prior studies, which used this model to examine contextual determinants of digital divide on Internet access (see for
example, spatial inequality in telecommunication infrastructure and digital divide among adolescents (Zhong, 2011), digital
divide across nations (Notten, Peter, Kraaykamp & Valkenburg, 2009), digital divide within schools (Hohlfeld, Ritzhaupt,
Barrona & Kemker, 2008), and the demand of democracy and Internet access (Nisbet, Stoycheff & Pearce, 2012).

Fig. 1. Spatial distribution of Internet access across districts 2012. Source: calculated by author based on Susenas 2012

Fig. 2. Disparities in telecommunications infrastructures across districts 2012. Source: calculated by author based on Susenas 2012

Please cite this article as: Sujarwoto, S., & Tampubolon, G. Spatial inequality and the Internet divide in Indonesia 2010
2012. Telecommunications Policy (2016), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.telpol.2015.08.008i

S. Sujarwoto, G. Tampubolon / Telecommunications Policy ()

Table 3
Results of stratied analysis.
Variables

Urban

Rural
Coef

Cities
se

Coef

se

Countryside

Remote islands

Main islands

Coef

se

Coef

se

Coef

se

Coef

se

1.251*
 0.245*
 0.367*

0.004 1.501*
0.004 1.101*
0.002  0.345* 0.002  0.115*
0.004  0.470* 0.004  0.210*

0.002 1.411*
0.001  0.211*
0.002  0.350*

0.011
0.012
0.011

1.611*
 0.361*
 0.521*

0.012
0.002
0.011

1.200*
 0.210*
 0.350*

0.009
0.006
0.007

District
GDP
Index Gini
Disparity in human capital
Disparity in telecommunication
infrastructures
Electricity access
Landline networks
Mobile phone access
Cybercafe access
Base transceiver station
Mobile phone signal coverage
Disparity in education services
Spending for telecommunication
services and infrastructures
Spending for education services

 0.251*
 0.267*
 0.354*
 0.123*
 0.156*
 0.021*
 0.132*
0.111

0.011  0.250*
0.012  0.361*
0.014  0.611*
0.002  0.213*
0.003  0.341*
0.002  0.221*
0.007  0.234*
0.108 0.201

0.010  0.130
0.013  0.221
0.012  0.211*
0.002  0.121*
0.003  0.126*
0.001  0.022*
0.002  0.023*
0.101 0.100

0.110  0.171*
0.111  0.261*
0.010  0.351*
0.002  0.212*
0.003  0.341*
0.002  0.120*
0.005  0.091*
0.101 0.110

0.013  0.311*
0.010  0.333*
0.011  0.612*
0.010  0.421*
0.009  0.456*
0.009  0.321*
0.006  0.422*
0.209 0.311

0.011
0.011
0.010
0.005
0.002
0.004
0.007
0.136

 0.250*
 0.261*
 0.330*
 0.110*
 0.121*
 0.020*
 0.130*
0.120

0.015
0.016
0.017
0.008
0.003
0.004
0.008
0.108

0.412*

0.006 0.512*

0.003 0.410*

0.003 0.510*

0.012

0.531*

0.013

0.410*

0.002

Household
Household expenditure
Connected to landline telephone
Have PC/laptop
Have mobile phone

0.616*
0.483*
1.412*
1.280*

0.008
0.015
0.011
0.051

0.723*
0.326*
1.468*
2.146*

0.013
0.039
0.018
0.058

0.603*
0.367*
1.428*
1.096*

0.014
0.022
0.019
0.097

0.812*
0.681*
1.7012*
1.611*

0.003
0.011
0.010
0.012

0.788*
0.659*
1.459*
1.869*

0.041
0.108
0.056
0.142

0.708*
0.549*
1.541*
1.895*

0.007
0.013
0.010
0.039

Individual
Age
Female
University
High school
Secondary school
Employed
Poverty

 0.106*
 0.462*
3.480*
2.466*
1.663*
0.020*
 0.201*

0.000
0.014
0.019
0.019
0.201
0.001
0.003

 0.095*
 0.231*
4.071*
2.990*
2.060*
0.037
 0.011

0.000
0.014
0.031
0.031
0.032
0.017
0.013

 0.110*
 0.642*
3.471*
2.416*
1.543*
0.058*
 0.204*

0.000
0.017
0.032
0.031
0.032
0.019
0.002

 0.201*
 0.260*
4.481*
3.463*
1.762*
0.020
 0.202

0.001
0.011
0.012
0.021
0.023
0.012
0.105

 0.087*
 0.298*
4.379*
3.253*
1.979*
0.083
 0.022

0.002
0.048
0.127
0.125
0.048
0.057
0.021

 0.101*
 0.382*
3.678*
2.638*
1.767*
0.022*
 0.211*

0.000
0.008
0.016
0.016
0.017
0.001
0.003

Years
2011
2012
Constants
Variance between districts
N
Log likelihood

0.010*
0.001
0.012*
0.001
 2.716* 0.053
0.18
1144809
 123782

0.002
0.001
0.181

0.013*
0.002
0.011*
0.001
 4.055*
0.20
2370249
 186987

0.017*
0.002 0.009*
0.010*
0.001 0.010*
 5.407* 0.064  1.852*
0.16
0.15
1450941
375141
 65752
 46093

0.002 0.015*
0.002 0.014*
0.002 0.010*
0.001 0.011*
0.100  2.818* 0.041  6.133
0.19
0.12
1103421
225501
 123782
 6606

Reported *p o0.05.

The regression equation of the models can be written as follows. Considering an individual i nested in district j, the
model is:

Eij * = o + j Wj + ij Xij + j + ij
With Eij* logit (P (Eij* 1)), Wj is a set of district characteristics (i.e. Gini index, GDP, district disparity in electricity, landline
networks, internet cafs, etc.), Xij is a set of individual characteristics (i.e. age, gender, job status, education and household
expenditure), mj is a random intercept varying over districts with mean zero and variance sm2, ij is normally distributed with
zero and variance s2.
Multilevel models were carried out using Generalised Linear Latent and Mixed Models (GLLAMM) commands using Stata
13. Rabe-Hesketh and Skrondal (2012) explained that GLLAMMs are a class of multilevel latent variable models for (multivariate) responses of mixed type, including continuous responses, counts, duration/survival data, dichotomous, ordered
and unordered categorical responses and rankings. In this analysis, GLLAMM is used with logit link as the dependant
variable (Internet divide) which is binary.
The multilevel models were carried out in several steps. First, multilevel stratied models were carried out to examine
whether the effect of various types of spatial inequality on the Internet divide differs across urbanrural, citycountryside,
and remote islandsmainland islands. Second, multilevel models for pooled data between 2010 and 2012 were carried out
to estimate the effect of various types of spatial inequality on the Internet divide across years and the sample population.
Third, to determine whether spatial inequalities and socio-economic groups substitute or reinforce each other, we estimated
Please cite this article as: Sujarwoto, S., & Tampubolon, G. Spatial inequality and the Internet divide in Indonesia 2010
2012. Telecommunications Policy (2016), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.telpol.2015.08.008i

S. Sujarwoto, G. Tampubolon / Telecommunications Policy ()

Table 4
Results of multilevel analysis with cross-level interaction.
Model 1

Model 2

Model 3

Coef

se

Coef

se

Coef

se

District
GDP
Index Gini
Disparity in human capital
Disparity in telecommunication infrastructures
Electricity access
Landline networks
Mobile phone access
Cybercaf access
Base transceiver station
Mobile phone signal coverage
Disparity in education services
Spending for telecommunication services and infrastructures
Spending for education services

1.121*
 0.201*
 0.211*

0.005
0.002
0.001

1.101*
 0.190*
 0.200*

0.004
0.002
0.002

1.100*
 0.189*
 0.202*

0.003
0.001
0.003

 0.232*
 0.211*
 0.311*
 0.124*
 0.256*
 0.021*
 0.141*
0.131
0.211*

0.010
0.020
0.010
0.006
0.003
0.004
0.006
0.112
0.001

 0.210*
 0.201*
 0.312*
 0.115*
 0.143*
 0.019*
 0.132*
0.141
0.215*

0.009
0.021
0.011
0.005
0.002
0.003
0.004
0.110
0.002

 0.212*
 0.209*
 0.314*
 0.116*
 0.165*
 0.018*
 0.134*
0.143
0.217*

0.012
0.020
0.010
0.004
0.002
0.004
0.002
0.111
0.003

Household
Household expenditure
Rural areas
Remote islands
Cities
Connected to landline telephone
Have PC/laptop
Have mobile phone

0.617*
 0.679*
 0.800*
0.555*
0.353*
1.424*
1.718*

0.007
0.009
0.023
0.010
0.014
0.010
0.038

0.620*
 0.681*
 0.811*
0.561*
0.358*
1.428*
1.721*

0.006
0.006
0.022
0.011
0.015
0.011
0.038

0.531*
 0.682*
 0.781*
0.573*
0.342*
1.425*
1.722*

0.005
0.007
0.023
0.012
0.014
0.012
0.037

Individual
Age
Female
University
High school
Secondary school
Employed
Poverty

 0.101*
 0.378*
3.690*
2.635*
1.781*
0.032*
 0.211*

0.000
0.008
0.016
0.015
0.016
0.001
0.001

 0.111*
 0.371*
3.691*
2.641*
1.791*
0.037*
 0.200*

0.000
0.007
0.014
0.012
0.013
0.001
0.002

 0.123*
 0.322*
3.692*
2.542*
1.692*
0.039*
 0.201*

0.000
0.006
0.013
0.010
0.011
0.002
0.003

0.011*
0.013*

0.003
0.002

0.012*
0.011*

0.004
0.003

0.012*
0.013*

0.004
0.003

 0.017*
 0.019*
 0.010
 0.101*
 0.050*
 0.045*

0.001
0.009
0.013
0.002
0.002
0.001
 0.011*
 0.025*
 0.132*
 0.010*
 0.019*
 0.112*
 3.522*
0.22
3334533
 189910

0.001
0.002
0.000
0.001
0.001
0.004
0.040

Years
2011
2012
First quartile of household expenditure  Bottom 10 electricity access
First quartile of household expenditure  Bottom 10 landline networks
First quartile of household expenditure  Bottom 10 mobile phone access
First quartile of household expenditure  Bottom 10 cybercafe access
First quartile of household expenditure  Bottom 10 mobile phone signal coverage
First quartile of household expenditure  Bottom 10 base transceiver station access
High school and above  Bottom 10 electricity access
High school and above  Bottom 10 landline networks
High school and above  Bottom 10 mobile phone access
High school and above  Bottom 10 cybercaf access
High school and above  Bottom 10 base transceiver station access
High school and above  Bottom 10 mobile phone signal coverage
Constants
Variance between districts
N
Log likelihood

 3.522*
0.22
3334533
 187933

0.040

 3.522*
0.22
3334533
 189910

0.040

Reported *po 0.05.

the association of the interaction between various forms of spatial inequality and individual socio-economic characteristics
on the Internet divide. For each of the models, the estimated coefcient, standard errors, district variances, and log likelihood as an indicator of model t are reported. All models were estimated using maximum likelihood estimation.

5. Results
5.1. Descriptive analysis
The descriptive statistics show that the dataset is relatively balanced across the study period. The average district GDP
remained relatively similar, at about IDR 18.821.2 trillion (1.92.2 billion US$). The percentage of poor people across
Please cite this article as: Sujarwoto, S., & Tampubolon, G. Spatial inequality and the Internet divide in Indonesia 2010
2012. Telecommunications Policy (2016), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.telpol.2015.08.008i

10

S. Sujarwoto, G. Tampubolon / Telecommunications Policy ()

districts remained large, with about 4146% of people consuming less than US $2 a day. Averages of age, gender, and
employment status in the survey did not change signicantly during the three years studied. Household expenditure is
shown to have increased slightly. Only a small proportion of individuals had attained university education (1314%); the
education level of the majority was secondary school or below (4952%). About 15% and 7% of respondents lived in big cities
and remote islands respectively.
The Gini index increases by 0.3 points during the three-year study period. The gap in the Gini index across districts is
quite large at SD 0.420.48. District disparities in human capital, landline networks and cybercaf presence remained large.
However, the spatial gap in electricity, mobile phones, and mobile phone signal access decreased. District spending on
education and on telecommunications services and infrastructures varied across districts with a range between IDR 208
284 billion (2129 million US$) and IDR 140142 billion (1415 million US$) respectively.
Table 2 shows the distribution of Internet access across years, socio-economic groups and geography. Internet access is
unequal, showing divergent trends among education and poverty levels as well as across generations. The deepest divide
between highly educated and less educated individuals in Internet access in 2012 is at 40%. Inequality in the Internet access
of poor and non-poor people also deepened substantially (from 8% in 2010 to 12% in 2012). A deepening gap in Internet
access between the younger and older generations also appears, from 8% in 2010 to 15% in 2012. Gaps in Internet access also
increased between females and males (from 1% in 2010 to 3% in 2012).
5.2. Spatial distribution of Internet access
A sense of the importance of area variations in Internet access can be gained from the map in Fig. 1, which highlights
geographical disparities across districts. Most districts in urban areas in Central Java, East Kalimantan, and North Sumatra
have more widespread Internet access than other regions in Indonesia, in particular Papua, Sulawesi and small islands across
Maluku and Ambon.
Fig. 2 shows disparities in telecommunications infrastructures across districts. It indicates that districts in Papua, Kalimantan, South Sumatra, and Central Sulawesi have greater disparities in telecommunications infrastructures than do districts across Java and Bali.
The next section presents the results of multilevel analyses that reveal whether spatial disparities in telecommunications
infrastructures are related to the Internet divide in Indonesia.
5.3. Stratied analysis
Table 3 shows the results of stratied analysis. The estimates for the stratied models suggest a substantial urbanrural,
citycountryside and remote islandmain island difference in Internet access. The coefcient of spatial inequality indicators
for rural, countryside and remote island areas is higher than the coefcient of urban, city and main island areas.
In all models, the association of GDP on the Internet divide is signicant at 5%. Likewise, higher district spending for
education services is likely to increase individual access to the Internet with statistical signicance at 5%. However, district
spending on telecommunications services and infrastructures appears to have no signicant effect on the Internet divide.
Having a mobile phone signicantly increases an individuals likelihood of having Internet access. The substantial difference
in the degree to which mobile phone ownership affects Internet access is also shown between urbanrural, citycountryside
and remote islandmain island areas. However, signicant associations of poverty and unemployment with the Internet
divide are only shown in urban, city and main island areas. Poverty and unemployment appear not to be statistically
signicant inuences on Internet access for rural, countryside and remote island samples.
5.4. Pooled analysis
Table 4 shows the results of multilevel analysis. Model 1 presents results from multilevel logit regression before cross
variable interaction. The portrait of the digital divide across social and economic groups is explicit. The digital divide across
generation and gender is shown from the negative and signicant associations of increased age and being female. Across the
models, the older generation and females are less likely to access the Internet than the younger generation and males.
Human capital in the form of education is signicantly associated with digital access; those who have graduated at the
university level have substantially wider access to the Internet. Economic capital is also strongly and signicantly related to
digital access. Households with higher monthly expenditures are more likely have Internet access than those with less.
Likewise, having a mobile phone, personal computer/telephone networks at home increases the likelihood of having
Internet access. The geographic divide in digital access is also found in all models. Those living in rural, countryside, and
remote areas are less likely to have access to the Internet.
5.5. Interaction analysis
Interaction terms between indicators of telecommunications infrastructure inequalities and indicators of individual
socio-economic groups enable us to examine whether spatial inequalities and socio-economic groups reinforce each other

Please cite this article as: Sujarwoto, S., & Tampubolon, G. Spatial inequality and the Internet divide in Indonesia 2010
2012. Telecommunications Policy (2016), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.telpol.2015.08.008i

S. Sujarwoto, G. Tampubolon / Telecommunications Policy ()

11

or substitute for one another. Model 2 shows that the interaction between the top quartile with regard to household
expenditure and the bottom 10 districts in terms of telecommunications deprivation is negative and statistically signicant
at 5%, with the exception of the interaction of household expenditure and mobile phone deprivation. This indicates that
those living in districts that are most deprived of telecommunications infrastructures are less likely to access the Internet,
even if they are economically better off. Likewise, Model 3 shows the interaction between highly educated people and each
indicator of telecommunications deprivation. The association again appears negative and signicant at 5%. In other words,
people living in the most deprived districts in terms of telecommunications infrastructure are less likely to access the
Internet, even if they are highly educated. District telecommunications infrastructure deprivation is strongly associated with
Internet access deprivation.
The variances at district level are signicant across all specications. The estimation of these goes some way to ensuring
that remaining estimates (from GDP to variables interaction) are robust against unobserved district heterogeneities. Single
level studies, which ignore unobserved heterogeneities at either district or higher geographical levels, may not be as robust.
This is worth bearing in mind when comparing these results with the current literature.

6. Discussion and conclusion


This paper has presented evidence that indicates that the Internet divide did not narrow with the deployment of telecommunications networks in Indonesia between 2010 and 2012. Even though telecommunications penetration has
increased substantially in the country during the past 10 years, Indonesia is still well behind other countries with similar
development levels and, as has been the case in many countries, the deployment of digital media has been very unequally
distributed. However, other countries such as Malaysia and the Philippines have been able to increase telecommunications
penetration with a lesser degree of inequality (World Bank, 2013).
The ndings also provide evidence that in contrast to Internet diffusion in rich countries, Internet access in Indonesia
follows the stratication thesis (Van Dijk & Hacker, 2003; Hargittai, 2002; Warschauer, 2003). Far from nding convergence,
a deepening Internet divide appears across socio-economic groups; a widening of the Internet divide across urbanrural,
citycountryside, and remote islandmainland island areas occurred during the study period. The inequality of Internet
access according to age, gender, income and education has become more pronounced over time and wider across districts in
Indonesia. There is no evidence that these gaps began to close or normalise between 2010 and 2012.
This study identies some mechanisms by which spatial inequality affects the Internet divide in Indonesia. First, district
disparities in telecommunications infrastructures such as electricity access, landline networks, mobile phones, internet
cafs, mobile phone signal networks, and base transceiver stations increase the Internet divide. Basic telecommunications
services are still unequally distributed across districts in Indonesia and are particularly unavailable in rural and countryside
areas and on remote islands (Nugroho, Putri & Laksmi 2012). Unequal access to telecommunications services such as
electricity access, landline networks, internet cafs, mobile phone signal networks and base transceiver stations constitutes
one of the challenges across the archipelago.
Second, disparities in human capital and education services across districts lead to an Internet divide. In all models, the
magnitude of the association between having a university education and having Internet access is greatest, indicating the
importance of education to Internet access. Education is one of the most important forms of social development, producing
the skills and experiences that are most likely to contribute to use of digital technology. Endemic spatial inequality of
education services across districts in the country challenges peoples ability to access the Internet (World Bank, 2008).
Third, district spatial inequality in economic development as measured by the Gini index contributes to the Internet
divide. As digital media has become increasingly important in richer districts, poorer districts are more likely to be excluded
as digital media infrastructures are often not provided. The association between a higher Gini index and a larger Internet
divide is particularly signicant in rural, countryside and remote island areas.
The magnitude of the association of spatial inequality measures on Internet access in rural, countryside, and remote
islands is larger than the magnitude association of those in urban, cities, and main islands. This may indicate that Internet
divide in rural, countryside and remote islands is wider than Internet divide in urban, cities and main islands. The wider
Internet divide in rural, countryside, and remote islands is also shown from the larger magnitude of the association of
individual and household access to university education, mobile phone, personal computer/laptop, compared with the
magnitude of those characteristics in urban, city and mainland areas. This study shows that the factors of Internet divide in
cities differs from those of other areas. While all indicators of spatial inequality in telecommunication infrastructures are
signicantly associated with Internet divide in areas outside cities, we nd spatial inequality in electricity and landline
networks are not determinants of the Internet divide in the cities. In cities, individual access to mobile phones, cybercafs,
and signal networks are important determinants of Internet access, regardless of individual access to universities and
economic opportunities.
Other ndings conrm prior studies. Higher levels of individual education and income are strongly associated with
Internet access (Wilson et al., 2003; Warschauer, 2003; Dutton et al., 2007). However, the positive associations of those
determinants begin to disappear when they interact with district deprivation of telecommunications infrastructures,
reecting the reinforcing effect of the Internet divide on spatial inequalities. In other words, those living in districts deprived
of telecommunications infrastructure are experiencing multiple barriers to Internet access. This nding is supported by the
Please cite this article as: Sujarwoto, S., & Tampubolon, G. Spatial inequality and the Internet divide in Indonesia 2010
2012. Telecommunications Policy (2016), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.telpol.2015.08.008i

12

S. Sujarwoto, G. Tampubolon / Telecommunications Policy ()

signicance of GDP and the Gini index, which capture the degree of district achievement with regard to economic development. The magnitude of the association between higher district GDP and Internet access is the largest among the district
level variables, indicating that better district economic development achievement is a strong determinant of Internet access
around the country. In all specications, households in poorer districts and districts with less equal economic distribution
are less likely to have access to the Internet than those living in richer districts with more equal economic distribution. It
also shows that people living in cities, where investment in digital technologies is thus far concentrated, are at the forefront
of beneting from Internet technologies. People in remote and countryside districts, on the other hand, plagued by the
multiple burdens of lack of infrastructure, human capital and economic capital, lag far behind.
We realise that these ndings have limitations, some of which may be dealt with in future research. First, the data used
in this paper only covers a three-year period. This means that any S-shaped diffusion curve is just at the beginning and is
going upward in a convex fashion. Normalisation claims that convergence would set in during the second, concave
saturation phase, not during the expansion phase of diffusion. Studies suggest that spatial factors are only important during
the expansion of the Internet for the top 20% of society, while for the remaining 80% income and education play the main
role (Norris, 2001; Castells, 2010; Servon, 2008).
Second, the discussion on the digital divide has recently gone beyond the binary of normalisation and stratication, and
researchers have recognised that the digital divide is a moving target. Hilbert (2014) explains that the rst phase target
consisted of the universalisation of the required technological infrastructure. The second stage consists of an endlessly
evolving inequality of technological capacity based on this ever more universalised infrastructure. Future anticipated data
collection and analysis thus are needed to obtain a measure of the second phase target of the digital divide, including such
variables as number and performance of technological devices.
Third, the survey used the question have you access the Internet in the last three months? It is not clear how people
who do not have access to the Internet would be differentiated from those who do, but have not accessed its. Fourth,
because of the cross-sectional design of our study, we must be cautious about the possible causality of any associations. The
estimated coefcient should be viewed as a measure of association, rather than of causation. With available panel data on
digital media access, future research may use appropriate methods to establish the causal effect of digital access predictors.
Nevertheless, the ndings have a number of important implications for the digital divide literature as well as for policy in
developing countries. First, most studies of the Internet divide in developed countries suggest that education and income
are strong predictors of digital access within society, thus concluding that the best approach is to improve education and
income, particularly for those in the poorer strata of society (Van Dijk & Hacker, 2003; Wilson et al., 2003; Warschauer,
2003; Korupp & Szydlik, 2005). In other words, it is suggested that general development strategies without a specic focus
on spatial inequalities would be sufcient. On the contrary, this study shows that spatial inequalities between regions in
developing countries constitute a strong contributing factor to the Internet divide, particularly in the early stage of ICT
diffusion. Thus, from an empirical perspective, we suggest that it is important to consider spatial inequalities within a
country when examining this divide. Spatial inequality within a country proves to be a factor that may reect not only
unequal distribution of human and economic capital, but also the unequal distribution of other development outcomes
(Kanbur & Venables, 2005).
Second, support for the stratication thesis contrasts with ndings regarding digital media diffusion in rich countries;
these ndings mostly support the normalisation thesis (Birdsell, Mizzio, Krane & Cottreau, 1998; Nie & Erbring, 2000;
Galliano, 2005; Rose, 2004). Rather than reducing spatial inequalities, the Internet has exacerbated them. Thus, from a
policy perspective, developing countries that fail to implement comprehensive national strategies to reduce spatial
inequality may fall behind in the delivery of societal benets from ICTs. Hence, reducing spatial inequalities through
enlarging the distribution of telecommunication infrastructures and education facilities in rural, countryside and remote
islands are vital to bridge the digital divide in these countries.

Acknowledgements
We are grateful to the anonymous reviewers, associate editor and editor for careful rounds of review, which have greatly
improved the paper. They are naturally exempt from any remaining mistakes. We also wish to thank Barash Amari for
editing this manuscript.

Please cite this article as: Sujarwoto, S., & Tampubolon, G. Spatial inequality and the Internet divide in Indonesia 2010
2012. Telecommunications Policy (2016), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.telpol.2015.08.008i

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13

Appendix A. Variables denition

Variables name

Questions/explanation

Internet divide

Apakah pernah mengakses internet dalam 3 bulan terakhir? (Have you accessed the Internet
within the last three months?). The survey denes access to the Internet as a connection made
by respondents toward Internet enabling system such as computer terminals, laptop, PC/computers, and mobile devices (Biro Pusat Statistik, 2010).
Coding 1Yes 0 No
GDP
District Gross Domestic Product (in Trillion rupiah)
Gini Index
Gini ratio
Disparity in human capital
The ratio of the largest 10% of the people graduated from university divided by the smallest
40%s share within a district.
Disparity in electricity access
The ratio of the largest 10% of the people who having access to electricity divided by the
smallest 40%s share within a district.
Disparity in landline networks
The ratio of the largest 10% of the people who having access to landline networks divided by the
smallest 40%s share within a district.
Disparity in mobile phone access
The ratio of the largest 10% of the people who having access to mobile phone divided by the
smallest 40%s share within a district.
Disparity in cybercaf access
The ratio of the largest 10% of the villages that having access to cybercaf divided by the
smallest 40%s share within a district.
Disparity in base transceiver station The ratio of the largest 10% of the villages that having access to BTS divided by the smallest
distribution
40%s share within a district.
Disparity in mobile phone signal
The ratio of the largest 10% of the villages that having been coverage by mobile phone signal
coverage
divided by the smallest 40%s share within a district.
Disparity in education services
The ratios of the largest 10% of the villages have university divided by the smallest 40%s share
within a district.
Spending for telecommunication
Total amount of budget spend for telecommunication services and infrastructures (in Billion
services and infrastructures
rupiah).
Spending for education services
Total amount of budget spend for education services and infrastructures (in Billion rupiah).
Household expenditure
Rural areas

Landline telephone
Computer ownership
Mobile phone ownership
Age
Female
University
High school
Secondary school and below
Employed
Poverty
Cities

Main islands

Remote islands

Sources
Susenas
2010/12

BPS 2010/12
BPS 2010/12
Susenas
2010/12
PODES 2010/
12
Susenas
2010/12
Susenas
2010/12
PODES 2010/
12
PODES 2010/
12
PODES 2010/
12
PODES 2010/
12
SIKD 2009/
11
SIKD 2009/
11
Monthly household expenditure (in Million rupiah)
Susenas
2010/12
An urban area is dened as the areas that have a major non-agricultural activity and function as Susenas
the urban settlements, concentration and distribution of government services, social services, 2010/12
and economic activities. A rural areas is dened as the areas that have a major agricultural
activity, including the management of natural resources in the region, and function as rural
settlements, government services, social services, and economic services (Biro Pusat Statistik,
2009). Respondent lives in rural areas, coding 1 rural 0 urban
Respondents have landline telephone, coding 1 Yes 0No
Susenas
2010/12
Respondents have computer or laptop, coding 1 Yes 0 No
Susenas
2010/12
Respondents have mobile phone, coding 1 Yes 0 No
Susenas
2010/12
Age of respondents
Susenas
2010/12
Respondent is female, coding 1 female 0 male
Susenas
2010/12
Respondents have university education, coding 1 University 0 others
Susenas
2010/12
Respondents only have high school education, coding 1 High school 0others
Susenas
2010/12
Respondents only have secondary school/primary school education, coding 1 secondary
Susenas
school/primary school education 0 others
2010/12
Respondents are being employed, coding 1 employed 0 employed
Susenas
2010/12
Household consumes less than US $2 per day
Susenas
2010/12
Biro Pusat Statistik (2009) classies 60 districts in Indonesia, which is categorised as big cities. BPS 2010
Big cities refer to districts within a region which have function as a centre of population, gov- district code
ernment, commerce, and culture. Population within big cities is above 2 million people.
Countryside is district with have population 10.000 and less.
BPS 2010
Mainland is districts located at ve big islands in Indonesia (Java-Bali, Sumatra, Kalimantan,
Sulawesi, and Papua). Remote island is districts, which located at small islands outside ve big district code
islands in Indonesia. District in mainlands in Indonesia is generally more developed than district
within remote islands due to they have better access of infrastructures, facilities and services
(Biro Pusat Statistik, 2009).
(1) Districts at small islands across Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Maluku, Nusa Tenggara, and BPS 2010
Papua (e.g. Kepulauan Nias, Raja Ampat, etc.)
district code
(2) Districts at remote areas in Papua, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Sumatra and Nusa Tenggara main
islands (i.e. Kabupaten Puncak, Yahukimo, etc.)

Please cite this article as: Sujarwoto, S., & Tampubolon, G. Spatial inequality and the Internet divide in Indonesia 2010
2012. Telecommunications Policy (2016), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.telpol.2015.08.008i

14

S. Sujarwoto, G. Tampubolon / Telecommunications Policy ()

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2012. Telecommunications Policy (2016), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.telpol.2015.08.008i