Institutional Challenges of Technological Change: What Can Indonesia Tell Us 10 Years After DSO Policy Was Initiated?

32 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2020 Last revised: 17 Sep 2022

See all articles by Moinul Zaber

Moinul Zaber

United Nations University; University of Dhaka

Ibrahim Rohman

University of Indonesia

Raka Fadilla

University of Indonesia (UI)

Date Written: December 15, 2020


Indonesia is one of the countries that has not yet successfully completed digital switchover (DSO). We scrutinize the institutional and regulatory challenges that Indonesia is facing to free up the spectrum. We analyze the reasons behind a decade-long delay and ongoing endeavors to implement DSO in the country. Indonesia started the initiative in 2008 when the broadcasting law was put in place. However, as of 2019, the country has not yet commenced the switch over. The Indonesian broadcast industry is dominated mainly by the analog terrestrial TV services offered by 419 broadcasters. While there is a wide choice of TV delivery platforms, namely, analog terrestrial TV, digital satellite TV, analog and digital cable TV, the industry still fails to modernize to commence DSO despite regulatory and governmental efforts. In July 2012 the ministry of communication and information, Technology (Kominfo) introduced the Ministerial Decree No.: 17/2012, to establish a high-level committee to understand the challenges of DSO and the broadcast industry. However, the initiative failed to impact future processes. We analyze from the institutional economics perspective, the role of the unique regulatory structure of Indonesia on the delay in the process. In this respect, we study the aspects of regulatory independence, the policies in place, funding, and inclusion of stakeholders in the planning process. We note a number of issues: lack of regulatory independence, absence of government’s initiatives to play a critical role, uncertainty in the timeline, unresolved issues with technical standards, lack of economic assessment of both the broadcasters and mobile network operator’s cost and failing to add the consumers in the planning process. One of the crucial challenges is the fact that the majority of Indonesia’s broadcasters are affiliated with political parties. Moreover, imbalance in digital sector development in Java and out of Java regions cause huge differences in ICT adoption. TV programs are still viewed by 70% of households in out-of-Java areas where most votes might generate. Whereas in Java the ubiquity of the Internet and ‘Triple Play’ has significantly reduced the dependency of people on national broadcasters. All of these are the sources of institutional hindrances that are the causes of DSO delay in Indonesia.

Keywords: Spectrum management, Digital switch over (DSO), Analog switch off (ASO), Technology Change Institutional challenges

Suggested Citation

Zaber, Moinul and Rohman, Ibrahim and Fadilla, Raka, Institutional Challenges of Technological Change: What Can Indonesia Tell Us 10 Years After DSO Policy Was Initiated? (December 15, 2020). TPRC48: The 48th Research Conference on Communication, Information and Internet Policy, Available at SSRN: or

Moinul Zaber (Contact Author)

United Nations University

Guimares, 4800-431

University of Dhaka ( email )

University of Dhaka
Dhaka 1000
Ramna, Dhaka, Dhaka 1000

Ibrahim Rohman

University of Indonesia

Depok, 16424

Raka Fadilla

University of Indonesia (UI) ( email )

Depok, 16424

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