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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Shahana Yasmin

Elon Musk launches Starlink satellite internet service in Indonesia

AFP via Getty Images

Elon Musk launched Starlink, his company SpaceX’s satellite internet service, on Sunday in Indonesia to boost access in remote parts of the archipelago.

The billionaire arrived in Indonesia’s resort island of Bali by private jet in the morning, following which he attended the launch ceremony at a community health centre in the provincial capital of Denpasar, reported Reuters.

Indonesia’s chief investment minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan met Mr Musk at the airport, and said the two would discuss several important collaborations, including the inauguration of Starlink.

Indonesia is home to more than 270 million people living across three time zones and Starlink would enable people in remote areas to enjoy the same fast internet as those in urban areas, said Mr Pandjaitan.

“I'm very excited to bring connectivity to places that have low connectivity,” Mr Musk said at the event.

“If you have access to the internet you can learn anything.”

“We are focusing this event on Starlink and the benefits that connectivity brings to remote islands,” he said, when asked about whether he planned toinvest in Indonesia's electric vehicle industry.

“I think it's really to emphasize the importance of internet connectivity, how much of that can be a lifesaver.”

Starlink was launched at three Indonesian health centres on Sunday, including two in Bali and one on the remote island of Aru in Maluku.

Communications minister Budi Arie Setiadi, who also attended the Bali launch, said Starlink was now available commercially, but the government would focus its services first for outer and underdeveloped regions.

“Our remote regions need Starlink to expand high-speed internet services, especially to help with problems in the health, education and maritime sectors,” Mr Pandjaitan told reporters ahead of the ceremony in Denpasar.

Starlink’s satellites, which remain in low orbit, will help them deliver faster internet speeds with nationwide coverage.

Mr Musk is scheduled to meet Indonesian president Joko Widodo on Monday, as well as address the the World Water Forum taking place on the island.

The satellite unit of Mr Musk’s SpaceX has already secured a permit to operate in Southeast Asia’s largest economy, Setiadi told Reuters last week.

Starlink obtained a permit to operate as an internet service provider for retail consumers and had been given the go-ahead to provide networks, having received a very small aperture terminal (VSAT) permit, the minister said in an interview.

Indonesia is the third country in Southeast Asia where Starlink will operate. Malaysia issued the firm a license to provide internet services last year and a Philippines-based firm signed a deal with SpaceX in 2022.

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