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Indonesia says Musk’s Starlink granted licences to operate

JAKARTA (AFP) – Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite company has been granted business licences to operate in Indonesia, a senior Communication and Information Ministry official said yesterday.

Starlink’s network of low Earth orbit satellites can provide Internet to remote locations or areas that have had normal communications infrastructure disabled.

Indonesia is a vast archipelago of more than 17,000 islands and Jakarta is seeking to connect millions more of its population who are not hooked up to reliable Internet services.

Communication and Information Ministry senior official Usman Kansong told AFP Starlink had been given approval to operate in Indonesia.

“PT Starlink Service Indonesia has been issued business licences for telecommunication operations… namely a business licence for Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) closed fixed networks and an Internet service provider (ISP) business permit,” he said.

The company now “has the right to operate in providing telecommunication services” across the archipelago country, said Usman, the ministry’s director general of information and public communication.

The firm’s services will be trialled this month in the newly planned capital Nusantara on the island of Borneo, which will open its doors in August, according to officials. It will then be launched at a later date.

The Indonesian government is moving the capital from traffic-clogged Jakarta, where large areas could be underwater by 2050 due to rising sea levels and land subsidence, according to some researchers.

Only two-thirds of Indonesia’s more than 270 million people had access to the Internet by 2022, according to the World Bank.

Starlink is already available in the Southeast Asia region in Malaysia and the Philippines.

File photo shows a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launching from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, United States. PHOTO: AFP