Indonesia and Elon Musk’s SpaceX successfully launched the country’s largest telecommunication satellite, marking a significant milestone in connecting remote areas of the archipelago to the Internet.
The $540 million project aims to bridge the connectivity gap in the underdeveloped eastern islands of Indonesia, where internet access is limited, reported Reuters.
With approximately two-thirds of the country’s 280 million population already using the internet, the focus is on extending connectivity to the far-flung regions. The launch of the 4.5-tonne Satellite of the Republic of Indonesia (SATIRA-1), constructed by Thales Alenia Space, took place in Florida and was facilitated by SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. Following the successful deployment, the rocket made a precision landing at an offshore site.
The satellite will be positioned above Indonesia’s eastern Papua region in the orbital slot. According to the Indonesian government, it boasts an impressive throughput capacity of 150 gigabytes per second, enabling internet access for 50,000 public service points. The project is a joint effort between the government and PT Satelit Nusantara Tiga, an Indonesia satellite service provider representing a public-private partnership.
“Satellite technology will accelerate internet access to villages in areas that fibre optics cannot reach in the next 10 years,” said Mahfud MD, senior Indonesian minister.
Elon Musk seems to have geared towards offering global connectivity. In March this year, Starlink offered a $200 per month global roaming plan for customers who travel a lot. In October last year, Starlink offered satellite internet on planes which the company claimed would be available as soon as users enter the plane. Going back to August 2022, SpaceX entered into a partnership with T-Mobile to leverage Starlink’s low-orbit satellites to provide internet to remote areas with little or no coverage.