Published: 17:19, May 19, 2024 | Updated: 17:20, May 19, 2024
Musk arrives in Indonesia's Bali for planned Starlink launch
By Reuters

Tech billionaire Elon Musk (left) walks with Indonesia's Coordinating Minister of Maritime and Investment Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan (center) during his arrival at Ngurah Rai International airport in Denpasar on Indonesia's Bali island on May 19, 2024. (PHOTO / AFP)

JAKARTA - Tycoon Elon Musk arrived on the Indonesian island of Bali on Sunday 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 Musk's arrival by private jet at Bali's airport on Sunday morning, saying the two would discuss several important collaborations, including the inauguration of Starlink, according to a post on his Instagram page.

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 Philippine-based firm signed a deal with SpaceX in 2022

Equal internet access across Southeast 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 said.

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Musk, the 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 Sunday afternoon, he said.

The satellite unit of Musk's SpaceX has already secured a permit to operate in Southeast Asia's largest economy, Communications Minister Budi Arie 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.

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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 Philippine-based firm signed a deal with SpaceX in 2022.