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As Indonesians work from home, telcos and internet providers offer free services

Many companies in Jakarta, including tech unicorns, are currently keeping workers at home to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

In response to the rapid spread of COVID-19, Indonesian president Joko Widodo on Sunday urged the nation’s citizens to work, study, and worship at home to prevent community transmission of the disease. As a result, the typically bustling Jakarta has been much quieter in the past three days, as most people are remaining in their residences.

In order to support the president’s order to maintain public health, a number of telco operators and internet providers have promised to keep connections up and running, while offering some free services to customers. XL Axiata is providing 2 GB of data per day for free, allowing access to several apps and services, including e-learning platforms Udemy, Ruangguru, and Zenius, as well as services from Microsoft 365. Users can also access information about the coronavirus from official sources, such as the health ministry and Jakarta’s provincial government, at no charge.

Internet provider Biznet has increased its bandwidth capacity at no additional cost for its home users for the next 14 days. The company said that it wants to help customers who are shifting to spending more time online as life outside home is currently limited.

Meanwhile, the country’s largest mobile carrier, Telkomsel, said that the company is ready to meet the demand for high-speed internet services, which is expected to increase in the next few weeks. Telkomsel has teamed up with education tech startup Ruangguru to provide users with up to 30 GB of free internet data to access Ruangguru’s app for the next 30 days. Other providers such as Indosat and Sinar Mas-backed Smartfren have also ensured reliable internet and communication network performance to serve elevated traffic during this period.

Although it is not mandatory, many companies in Jakarta are following the president’s call to allow employees to work remotely from their homes. Tech giants such as Gojek, Grab, Tokopedia, and Ovo are some of the firms that are implementing this policy for their office workers.

Indonesia is currently grappling with a coronavirus outbreak that has been spreading at a fast pace in the past two weeks. The virus has infected 172 people and killed 9 people as of the early afternoon of March 18.