Musk arrives in Bali for planned Starlink launch

SpaceX and Tesla chief executive Elon Musk arriving at the Bali international airport on May 19. PHOTO: REUTERS

DENPASAR, NETIZENBALI.COM - Tycoon Elon Musk arrived on the Indonesian island of Bali on May 19 ahead of the planned launch of SpaceX’s Starlink internet service, which the Indonesian government hopes will boost internet penetration and health services in remote parts of the sprawling archipelago.

Chief Investment Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan greeted Mr Musk’s arrival by private jet at Bali’s airport on the morning of May 19, saying the two would discuss several important collaborations, including the inauguration of Starlink, according to a post on his Instagram page.

Equal internet access across South-east Asia’s largest economy, home to more than 270 million people living in three time zones, would enable people in remote areas to enjoy the same fast internet as those in urban areas, he added.

Mr Musk, billionaire head of SpaceX and Tesla, will launch Starlink with Indonesian President Joko Widodo at a community health centre in Denpasar, the capital of Bali, on the afternoon of May 19, he said.

Communications Minister Budi Arie Setiadi told Reuters last week that SpaceX’s satellite unit has already secured a permit to operate in Indonesia.

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 permit, the minister said in an interview.

Indonesia is the third country in South-east Asia where Starlink will operate. Malaysia issued the firm a licence to provide internet services in 2023 and a Philippine-based firm signed a deal with SpaceX in 2022.

Starlink is also used extensively in Ukraine, where it is employed by the military, hospitals, businesses and aid organisations.

In February, the country also urged SpaceX to act to prevent Russia from using its Starlink terminals for communications in areas occupied by Moscow’s troops. (NB/ Reuters)


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