Elon Musk launches Starlink in Indonesia, eyes future investment

Indonesian Minister of Health Budi Gunadi Sadikin (2nd from left) and Elon Musk (2nd from right) sign an agreement on enhancing connectivity at a public health center in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia on Sunday, May 19, 2024. Elon Musk arrived in Indonesia's resort island of Bali to launch Starlink satellite Internet service in the world's largest archipelago nation. — AP

Elon Musk inaugurated SpaceX’s Starlink Internet services in Indonesia on May 19 as the world’s largest archipelago seeks to boost connectivity to its most remote areas.

The inauguration took place at a community health centre in Bali. The billionaire, clad in a green batik and mobbed by onlookers, said he was excited to bring Starlink to Indonesian villages with no connectivity or very low bandwidth, adding "this can really be a lifesaver” for patients seeking medical treatment.

As well as connecting far-flung provinces, Indonesia expects Starlink to improve education and health outcomes, Coordinating Minister of Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Panjaitan said in a statement. Starlink, which delivers broadband Internet from SpaceX’s satellites, received a license to operate in the country earlier this month.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has long been courting Musk to cap off his decade-long bid to make Indonesia a destination of choice for foreign investors. Musk said in Bali that it’s likely his other companies "will invest in Indonesia in the future”, without giving details.

Jokowi, who had earlier been slated to attend the Starlink inauguration in Bali, was not in attendance.

In September, Jokowi said Indonesia was still in discussions with Tesla Inc to invest in the nation’s burgeoning battery industry, despite the downturn in the electric-vehicle market. Starlink is also set to test its Internet services in Indonesia’s planned new capital city Nusantara, which Jokowi aims to inaugurate by August. – Bloomberg

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