Starlink Launches Satellite Internet Service in Indonesia

SpaceX's Starlink satellite internet expands to Indonesia, aiming to bridge the digital divide, but affordability remains a challenge for widespread adoption.

Ebenezer Mensah
Updated On
New Update
Starlink Launches Satellite Internet Service in Indonesia

Starlink Launches Satellite Internet Service in Indonesia

Elon Musk's SpaceX has expanded its Starlink satellite internet service to Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous country. The move aims to bring high-speed internet access to remote areas of the archipelago nation where traditional broadband infrastructure is lacking.

Starlink uses a constellation of low Earth orbit satellites to deliver internet service to users via small satellite dishes and Wi-Fi routers. The service has already launched in several countries including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany and New Zealand.

In Indonesia, Starlink will initially be available in select regions including the capital Jakarta and tourist hub Bali before expanding coverage nationwide. The company has secured the necessary licenses from Indonesia's telecoms regulator to operate the satellite internet service.

"Starlink will deliver high-speed broadband internet to places where access has been unreliable, expensive, or completely unavailable," SpaceX said in a statement announcing the Indonesia launch. The company added that its service is ideally suited for areas with unreliable or no connectivity .

Indonesia, a country of over 17,000 islands, has struggled to provide internet access to many of its 270 million people, especially those in far-flung and rural areas. Only about 12% of Indonesia's population had fixed broadband subscriptions in 2020, well below the global average, according to the World Bank.

The Indonesian government has welcomed Starlink's entry, seeing it as aligned with its goal of boosting internet penetration. "Starlink's presence in Indonesia is expected to complement the government's efforts to connect the unconnected," said Plate Merdiansa, an official at Indonesia's telecoms ministry.

However, some have raised concerns about the affordability of Starlink's service, which is priced higher than many existing internet options in Indonesia. The hardware costs $599, with a $110 monthly service fee. SpaceX says it is working to make the pricing more accessible in the future.

Despite the cost barriers, there is significant interest in Starlink from Indonesians frustrated with slow and patchy internet, especially in underserved regions. Pre-orders for the service began earlier this year and quickly reached capacity, according to SpaceX.

Why this matters: Starlink's launch in Indonesia highlights the potential for satellite internet to bridge the digital divide in developing nations where traditional infrastructure is inadequate. It could provide a connectivity lifeline for millions of Indonesians, though affordability remains a key challenge to widespread adoption.

Starlink's entry into Indonesia's internet market marks a major milestone in SpaceX's global expansion of its satellite broadband service. With huge pent-up demand for reliable high-speed internet across the vast island nation, Starlink has the potential to be a game-changer, especially in remote regions that have long been underserved. However, the relatively high cost of Starlink's equipment and monthly fees could prove a significant barrier for many Indonesians. SpaceX says it is working to improve affordability. The Indonesian government has welcomed Starlink as complementary to its connectivity push, seeing it as aligned with efforts to expand internet access nationwide.

Key Takeaways

  • SpaceX expands Starlink satellite internet to Indonesia, world's 4th most populous country.
  • Starlink aims to bring high-speed internet to remote areas lacking traditional broadband.
  • Indonesia struggles with low fixed broadband penetration, only 12% in 2020.
  • Starlink's high hardware and monthly costs raise affordability concerns in Indonesia.
  • Starlink's entry marks a milestone in bridging Indonesia's digital divide, though challenges remain.