Elon Musk has visited Bali to launch the Starlink satellite internet service in Indonesia

By Catur, 2024.05.28

One of the highlights of the 10th World Water Forum, which took place in Bali from May 18–25, was the attendance of Elon Musk. The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX was scheduled to present at the G20 forum in 2022 but could not attend the international conference. This year, Musk finally arrived on the island of Bali on Sunday, May 19, to launch the Starlink satellite internet service, providing wider coverage of high-speed internet service to some of the remote regions in Indonesia, especially for health service providers.

The Starlink Service Agreement Between Elon Musk and the Indonesian Government

Elon Musk visits Bali during the 10th World Water Forum

As the world’s largest archipelago nation, Indonesia has over 17,000 islands sprawled across three time zones with a population of more than 270 million. In the digital era, internet access is more important than ever. With vast archipelago regions like Indonesia, the Starlink service, which is based on the satellite system, will grant health providers in the underserved and remote areas of the country access to high-speed internet.

The agreement between the Indonesian government and Elon Musk’s SpaceX had been in talks for years before the deal was made. Musk was quoted as saying that launching the service would benefit the health and education of remote areas. Although some details about the agreement were not disclosed, the Coordinating Minister of Maritime and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, believed that launching Starlink aligned with a mission to provide affordable access to high-speed internet.

Communication and Informatics Minister Budi Arie Setiadi stated that local internet providers in Indonesia cannot reach remote areas because they rely on base transceiver stations and have limited coverage. Starlink, on the other hand, is a satellite-based company that hovers low in Earth’s orbit and is capable of delivering faster internet to a country like Indonesia. The Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin reported that, out of 10,000 health clinics in Indonesia, 2,700 remain without internet.

This can make it really a lifesaver for remote medical clinics, and I think it could be a possibility for education as well,

– Musk told reporters.

If you can access the internet, then you can learn anything and you can also sell your business services worldwide. So, I think it’s going to be incredibly beneficial,

– he said.

Elon Musk was greeted at Ngurah Rai International Airport by Coordinating Minister of Maritime and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan before the ceremony to launch the service at a health clinic in Denpasar, which was scheduled for a few hours later.

Another High-Profile Visit to Indonesia

Elon Musk is listening the saying of Indonesian man

Elon Musk’s travel to Indonesia’s resort island of Bali has not been the only high-profile visit to Indonesia in the last couple of weeks.

The visit came just weeks after Apple CEO Tim Cook met the Indonesian President, Joko Widodo, on April 17 and confirmed that the company was looking into the possibility of extending Apple manufacturing in Indonesia. Then, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella visited Indonesia on April 30 and said that the company would invest US$1.7 billion over the next four years in a new cloud and artificial intelligence infrastructure.

The visits of these tech CEOs to Indonesia have further pushed the agenda of digital technology and information, which is one of the government’s goals for achieving the Golden Indonesia 2045 vision.

The Concerns About Starlink for Local Internet Providers

Elon Musk is having a conversation with Indonesian man in Bali

The launch of Starlink from SpaceX, one of the world’s top aerospace firms, has raised questions about its effect on local internet providers. For years, Indonesia has become one of the world’s slowest internet countries, miles behind Singapore and South Korea. The deal with Starlink, however, is expected to enhance the internet service in the world’s largest archipelago country.

When reporters asked about the concern that Starlink could have a major effect on the domestic telecommunications industry, Luhur Binsar Pandjaitan replied that local telecommunications companies should elevate the service to compete with Starlink.

One of the key points in the agreement on enhancing connectivity with SpaceX is that Starlink is sharing the service with the Indonesian state-owned Telkom Group to help them deliver faster internet access to remote regions in Indonesia.

Our remote regions need Starlink to expand high-speed internet services, especially to help with problems in the health, education and maritime sectors,

– the Coordinating Minister of Maritime and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, told reporters.

The attendance of Elon Musk in Bali on Sunday at the launch of the Starlink satellite while the 10th World Water Forum was underway was a strong signal that Indonesia was heading in the right direction. The possibility that people in remote islands in Indonesia may easily access the internet is not only beneficial for the country’s health and education sectors in the way Starlink has advertised, but could also prove to be the first step in providing digital literacy for citizens living in underserved and remote regions.


The author of the project On Bali

Hi everyone! My name is Catur, and I was born and raised in Central Java. I moved to Bali in 2011 but left the island in 2016 before returning in 2018. Bali feels more than a home to me, and maybe that’s why my name feels like a premonition. Catur means four, both in the Balinese and Javanese languages. It is spoken like ‘c’ in chess, which is also the meaning of my name in Indonesian.

Date of Last Update: May 31, 2024