Indonesia's island of Bali to curb internet use over Hindu holiday

Balinese Hindu carry sacred statues of gods and deities during a Melasti purification ceremony ahead of the holy day of Nyepi, on Purnama Beach, Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia March 14, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Nyoman Budhiana/ via REUTERS

Thomson Reuters

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia has asked telecoms providers to shut down some mobile internet services in its holiday island of Bali on Saturday, to respect the predominantly Hindu island's New Year "day of silence".

Most activities on the island, known for its beaches and temples, usually come to a standstill on the day of "Nyepi", including a temporary closure of the international airport.

But this is the first time internet providers have been asked to restrict cellular data, according to Telkomsel, the country's largest mobile network.

In a statement, the communications ministry said religious leaders in Bali had appealed for a 24-hour internet blackout from 6 a.m. on Saturday.

"We have asked all telecommunications providers to take steps to support the religious leaders' appeal," it said. "They should also take steps to maintain the quality of internet access at vital locations."

Such spots included hospitals, banks, and certain public places will be running, said Merza Fachys, president director of Smartfren, another service provider.

"We will try as much as possible to fulfill what the religious leaders have asked for," he added.

It was unclear whether wifi networks at places like hotels or cafes would still operate.

(Reporting by Tabita Diela and Cindy Silviana; Writing by Kanupriya Kapoor; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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