Customers of Telkomsel, Indonesia’s state-owned mobile carrier, have joined in signing a petition outraged [Indonesian] at the company’s data package pricing.

Considered expensive even for those living in the country’s capital Jakarta, the telco charges up to twice as much for its data from customers considered to live in bad “zones” – or remote areas, with generally poorer communities.

In an attempt to reverse the unjust pricing structure, activist Djali Gafur launched an internet petition called ‘Internet for the people’ – the site has already galvanised over 10,000 signatures.

The current policy separates the Indonesian archipelago into 12 regions. Jakarta and large parts of Java are registered as Zone 1, with tariffs increasing in price with distance from this epicentre. The Raja Ampat district in West Papua, over 2,700km from Jakarta, lists as Zone 12.

Telkomsel-tariff[1]

For example, a 2GB data package in Zone 1 costs only Rp 65,000, while customers in Zone 12 pay Rp 120,000 for the same service.

“We in Zone 12 have no other choice,” wrote Gafur on Change.org. Telkomsel is the only option in these remote area, so customers are forced to pay the premium rates. Gafur added that “People here need internet access as a human right […] to gain access to information, education, tourism, government, industry and stretch our creative economy – so that we can live.”

VP of Corporate Communications at Telkomsel, Adita Irawati said: “We see this petition is a form of feedback for Telkomsel, and for that we say thank you very much. This will become our main concern in order to provide a better service for the people, particularly customers in the eastern region of Indonesia.”

The petition has received federal attention [Indonesian] with the Indonesian ICT Minister Rudiantara meeting Telkomsel Director Ririek Adriansyah to discuss the pricing gaps in data access. Rudiantara suggested that the government would help subsidise Telkomsel packages, using support from the Universal Service Obligation (USO) fund.

Indonesia does not currently regulate data tariffs, however Rudiantara added that discussions would begin on this next year.