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May 19, 2024

Elon Musk Launches Starlink Internet Service in Indonesia

Elon Musk, the visionary leader of Tesla, SpaceX, and owner of social platform X, arrived in Bali, Indonesia, on Sunday to officially launch the Starlink satellite internet service. The picturesque island, known for its stunning beaches, terraced rice paddies, and rich cultural heritage, set the stage for this significant technological advancement in the world’s largest archipelago nation.

Musk’s visit, marked by his arrival on a private jet, was centered around a ceremonial launch of Starlink, alongside Indonesian President Joko Widodo. The event took place at a public health clinic in Denpasar, Bali’s provincial capital. During this ceremony, Musk and President Widodo signed an agreement aimed at enhancing internet connectivity across Indonesia’s health and education sectors. This initiative underscores Starlink’s mission to provide affordable, high-speed internet access to underserved and remote areas globally.

Indonesia, a vast country of over 270 million people spread across 17,000 islands and three time zones, faces significant connectivity challenges. Many of its remote regions struggle with limited or no internet access, relying heavily on base transceiver stations that cannot cover the expansive and dispersed geography. The introduction of Starlink’s low-orbit satellites promises to bridge this gap, offering nationwide coverage and significantly improving internet speeds.

Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister of Maritime and Investment, welcomed Musk at the airport and highlighted the critical need for improved internet services in the country. He emphasized that the launch of Starlink in a health clinic aligns with the broader goals of addressing connectivity issues in crucial sectors like health, education, and maritime services.

“Starlink is essential for our remote regions,” Pandjaitan told reporters. “It will enhance high-speed internet services, particularly benefiting the health, education, and maritime sectors.”

The significance of Musk’s visit extends beyond the Starlink launch. This is Musk’s first in-person visit to Bali, and he is also scheduled to participate in the 10th World Water Forum. This global event seeks to address pressing water and sanitation challenges, further emphasizing Musk’s engagement with critical global issues.

Musk’s relationship with Indonesia has been building over recent years. In 2022, he spoke at the B-20 business forum ahead of the Group of 20 leading economies summit in Bali, though he participated via video link. His return to Bali marks a continuation of his commitment to fostering technological advancements in Indonesia.

Musk’s visit also comes on the heels of significant engagements by other major tech leaders. Apple CEO Tim Cook met with President Widodo on April 17, exploring potential manufacturing opportunities in Indonesia. Shortly after, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella visited on April 30, announcing a substantial investment of USD 1.7 billion over four years in cloud and artificial intelligence infrastructure within the country.

Indonesia, under President Widodo’s leadership, has been vigorously promoting the development of its digital technology and information sectors. The country aims to achieve its ambitious Golden Indonesia 2045 Vision, aspiring to become one of the world’s top five economies with a GDP of up to USD 9 trillion by 2045, marking a century of independence from Dutch colonial rule.

The launch of Starlink in Indonesia represents a critical step towards realizing this vision. By improving connectivity across its vast and diverse landscape, Indonesia can better leverage digital technologies to drive growth and development in various sectors, positioning itself as a leading global economy.

In conclusion, Elon Musk’s visit to Bali to launch Starlink is a landmark event for Indonesia, promising to revolutionize internet connectivity and support the nation’s broader technological and economic ambitions. The collaboration between SpaceX and the Indonesian government signifies a forward-looking partnership aimed at overcoming geographic challenges and fostering inclusive growth through advanced technology.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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