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regular-article-logo Sunday, 16 June 2024

Elon Musk launches SpaceX’s satellite services in Indonesia, month after abruptly pushing back visit to India

I’m very excited to bring connectivity to places that have low connectivity, says Elon Musk

Our Bureau & Reuters Denpasar (Indonesia) Published 20.05.24, 11:58 AM
Elon Musk at Denpasar on Sunday

Elon Musk at Denpasar on Sunday Reuters

Elon Musk, the billionaire head of SpaceX and Tesla, launched SpaceX’s satellite services in Indonesia, a month after he abruptly pushed back his visit to India on April 21 and April 22 citing pressing commitments.

Musk and Indonesian health minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin launched SpaceX’s satellite internet service for the nation’s health sector, aiming to improve access in remote parts of the sprawling archipelago.

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Musk arrived on the Indonesian resort island of Bali by private jet before attending the launch ceremony at a community health centre in the provincial capital, Denpasar.

His visit to India was expected to throw light on SpaceX’s plans for the country as well as whether Tesla will set up a factory in India.

Within a week after he put off his India visit, Tesla chief executive officer Musk was in China on an unannounced visit where he discussed plans for full self-driving software and permission to transfer data overseas that were reviewed favourably by Beijing.

Musk, wearing a green batik shirt, said the availability of the Starlink service in Indonesia would help millions in far-flung parts of the country to access the internet. The country is home to more than 270 million people and three different time zones,

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

Asked about whether he planned to also invest in Indonesia’s electric vehicle industry, Musk said he was focused on Starlink first.

“We are focusing this event on Starlink and the benefits that connectivity brings to remote islands,” he said, “I think it’s really to emphasise the importance of internet connectivity, how much of that can be a lifesaver.”

Indonesia’s government has been trying for years to lure Musk’s auto firm Tesla to build manufacturing plants related to electric vehicles as the government wants to develop its EV sector using the country’s rich nickel resources.

Prior to Sunday’s launch, 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 tech tycoon is scheduled to meet Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Monday, where he will also address the World Water Forum.

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