Elon Musk to land on Australia’s doorstep within days to expand his Starlink satellite empire

Georgina Noack
The Nightly
2 Min Read
Elon Musk will be on Ausrtalia’s doorstep this weekend as he expands his Starlink satellite internet empire to a nearby hotspot.
Elon Musk will be on Ausrtalia’s doorstep this weekend as he expands his Starlink satellite internet empire to a nearby hotspot. Credit: Susan Walsh/AP

Elon Musk is set to visit an Australian tourist hotspot this weekend as he expands his Starlink satellite empire in the Southern Hemisphere.

The tech billionaire is due to touch down in Bali on Sunday, The Bali Sun reports, to launch his broadband internet service Starlink on the Indonesian island.

It comes as Indonesia pushes to level up its national connectivity infrastructure and make the popular tourist destination even more appealing to digital nomads, entrepreneurs, and remote workers.

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Indonesian Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan confirmed in a statement that Musk would be in Bali to launch Starlink on May 19 at the World Water Forum.

Mr Pandjaitan said Musk will deliver a speech at the forum, being held in Nusa Dua, at a dedicated launch event attended by Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi).

“The President, together with Elon Musk, will launch Starlink in the hopes of facilitating communication in remote areas,” the minister said on Tuesday.

 Nusa Penida island, while a beautiful and popular tourist spot on Bali, is riddled with connectivity problems.
Nusa Penida island, while a beautiful and popular tourist spot on Bali, is riddled with connectivity problems. Credit: Punnawit Suwuttananun/Getty Images

While Bali has some of the best internet connectivity in Indonesia, some parts of the island province still face unstable internet connections and patchy mobile data coverage.

Communication and informatics minister Budi Arie Setiadi told local media Starlink would help broaden internet access to regions uncovered by local Internet providers.

“On one hand, we are aiming to boost the Internet speed. On the other hand, we are striving to achieve equitable distribution (of Internet access) since we still find it difficult to connect remote regions (to the Internet),” he told ANTARA News.

Mr Setiadi said while Starlink had obtained a license to operate as a telecommunications provider in the country, it would not hurt local internet providers.

He said Starlink would be required to follow Indonesian law and local regulations and pay the correct frequency fees.

Starlink will first be trialled for a month in the future Indonesian capital of Nusantara in East Kalimanta — which will claim the title from Jakarta on August 17 — before launching in other parts of the island province.

The internet system operates from thousands of low earth orbit satellite constellations, of which SpaceX has launched over 6000, to more than 2 million Starlink subscribers worldwide.

According to the Bali Sun, the Starlink monthly packages for residential use start at IDR 750,000 (about AU$70) and global packages start at IDR 6,995,480 (or AU$655).

The standard Starlink unit will cost IDR 7,800,000 — about AU$730 — in Indonesia.

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