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Elon Musk Introduces SpaceX’s Starlink Internet Service in Indonesia

Elon Musk, alongside Indonesian Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin, has officially launched SpaceX’s satellite internet service, Starlink, in Indonesia. The initiative aims to enhance internet access in the nation’s remote regions, significantly benefiting the health sector.

The launch ceremony took place on Sunday at a community health centre in Denpasar, Bali, following Musk’s arrival on the island by private jet. Clad in a traditional green batik shirt, Musk highlighted the transformative potential of Starlink in connecting the country’s vast and dispersed population of over 270 million people, spread across three time zones.

“I’m very excited to bring connectivity to places that have low connectivity,” Musk stated. “If you have access to the internet you can learn anything.”

The launch saw Starlink deployed at three Indonesian health centres: two in Bali and one on the remote island of Aru in Maluku. A video presentation at the event showcased how high-speed internet could facilitate real-time data input, addressing health challenges like stunting and malnutrition more effectively.

When questioned about potential investments in Indonesia’s electric vehicle sector, Musk reiterated his current focus on Starlink. “We are focusing this event on Starlink and the benefits that connectivity brings to remote islands,” he said. “It’s really to emphasize the importance of internet connectivity, how much of that can be a lifesaver.”

Indonesia has been keen to attract Tesla to invest in its electric vehicle industry, leveraging the country’s abundant nickel resources. However, Musk’s immediate priority remains expanding Starlink’s reach.

On Monday, Musk is scheduled to meet with Indonesian President Joko Widodo and address the World Water Forum in Bali.

Communications Minister Budi Arie Setiadi, also present at the launch, announced that while Starlink is now available commercially, the government will prioritize its deployment in outer and underdeveloped regions. Before the launch, Starlink secured permits to operate as an internet service provider for retail consumers and to provide network services using very small aperture terminal (VSAT) technology.

SpaceX’s Starlink, which controls about 60% of the 7,500 satellites orbiting Earth, dominates the satellite internet market. Indonesia joins Malaysia and the Philippines as the third Southeast Asian country to host Starlink services. Starlink is also widely used in Ukraine, serving the military, hospitals, businesses, and aid organizations.

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