About
In late 2011, epidemiologist, writer and adventurer Elizabeth Pisani granted herself a sabbatical from the day job and set off to rediscover Indonesia, a country she has wandered, loved and been baffled by for decades. She was on the road and the high seas for a year, covering dozens of islands in 27 provinces. This site records photos and musings from that journey and beyond. See more about the project


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Notional Networks: the realities of Indonesian Telcoms

Ancient rotary phone under lock and key

Telecommunications in Eastern Indonesia


In my proposal for Taking Tea with the Dead, I wittered on at some length about how fabulously plugged in Indonesia is. The world’s second largest Facebook community, some 18 percent of all Twitter traffic. Jakarta pulsates a glorious crimson on this wonderful Twitter heat map at most times of the day and night.

But as Merlyna Lim reminded us in a recent report on democratization and social media in Indonesia (pdf), most of those people live in Java and Bali, with a smattering in large cities in other islands. Since I’ve started my travels far from the mother-lode, I can identify especially with this map, taken from Lim’s report, of telecoms distribution.

And let’s not forget that that phone pictured above, under lock and key in a Waikabubak guest house, counts as part of the 0.2 percent. I’m hoping some of those open source guys can find a way for us to Tweet by tom-tom.