RIM faces threat again to its service in Indonesia

Indonesia's telecom regulator has revived demands that RIM set up a local server to route communications

Indonesia's telecommunications regulator, Badan Regulasi Telekomunikasi Indonesia (BRTI), has renewed its demand that Research In Motion locate a server in the country to route communications traffic, after the Canadian company reportedly set up similar infrastructure in Singapore.

The BRTI plans to make the setting up of a local server a precondition for RIM to continue to offer its BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) and BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) in Indonesia, said BRTI commissioner Heru Sutadi in an email interview on Monday.

Indonesia is a big market for RIM, as the BlackBerry device is very popular with locals. Several people were injured in a stampede at a recent promotional event organized by RIM in Indonesia.

BRTI wants a server located in Indonesia to handle local traffic as right now it cannot ensure the safety of consumers' data as it is routed all the way to servers in Canada, Sutadi said.

Customers also have to pay more for service because of the long haul from Jakarta to Canada, Sutadi said. By locating a server in Indonesia, RIM will also be able to provide good quality service to users in Indonesia, he added.

In line with local regulations for Internet and network service providers, RIM has to provide the local server as a license condition to operate its BIS and BBM services, and may face termination of services if it doesn't, Sutadi added.

RIM said in a statement on Saturday that it has been working closely with government bodies in Indonesia, and had written to the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MOCI) in September to say that it had "fully addressed" all requests made by the ministry in January.

These included setting up a network of over 50 BlackBerry Expert Centers throughout Indonesia, working with law enforcement agencies in Indonesia for the provision of lawful access as stipulated by national law, establishing a content filtering system in accordance with the requirements outlined by the government, and the setting up a "regional network aggregator" to which many Indonesian carriers are now connected, addressing MOCI concern about the speed of data flows.

A MOCI spokesman did not return calls.

RIM did not give details about the network aggregator and where it is located, but according to informed sources this is the infrastructure that the BRTI wants in Indonesia.

Locating the server in the country is a long-standing demand of the regulator, which Sutadi claims goes back three years. The demand for a server has become a hot issue again after RIM's reported decision to locate the server in Singapore, Sutadi said.

RIM has had a difficult relationship with Indonesia and some other countries in Asia and the Middle East. India is for example demanding that RIM provide government access to encrypted corporate mail on its BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES).

In January, BRTI said that all Internet service providers are required by law to block pornographic content, and if RIM does not block pornographic sites, Indonesia may consider blocking the service. RIM said at the time it was committed to working with Indonesia's carriers to put in place "a prompt, compliant filtering solution for BlackBerry subscribers in Indonesia".

Sutadi said on Monday that RIM cooperated in blocking pornography after a threat to block the service, but has not addressed the longer-standing demand for a server in the country.

Indonesia was counting on RIM's "goodwill" to put up the server in the country. "But, after waiting for almost three years, they just said that they already have the router in Singapore," Sutadi said.

RIM said it continues to discuss a new potential investment in Indonesia that would support the growth and expansion of the country's software development industry, for which it expects to provide further details at a future date.

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Tags telephonyresearch in motionCarrierstelecommunicationregulationBadan Regulasi Telekomunikasi Indonesiagovernmentlegislationmobilemobile applications

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John Ribeiro

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