Indonesia and SpaceX launch satellite to improve internet connectivity

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia and Elon Musk’s rocket company SpaceX launched the country’s largest telecommunications satellite from the United States on Monday, part of a $540 million project to to connect remote corners of the archipelago to the Internet.

About two-thirds of Indonesia’s 280 million people already use the internet, but connectivity is limited in the remote and underdeveloped eastern islands of the Southeast Asian country.

“Satellite technology will accelerate internet access to villages in areas that cannot be reached by fiber optics over the next 10 years,” Indonesian Minister Mahfud MD said in a statement ahead of the launch.

The Republic of Indonesia’s 4.5-tonne satellite (SATRIA-1) was built by Thales Alenia Space and deployed to orbit from Florida by SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, which then returned to an offshore location during a precision landing.

The satellite will occupy the orbital slot above the eastern region of Papua in Indonesia. It has a throughput capacity of 150 gigabytes per second and will provide internet access to 50,000 public service points, the Indonesian government said.

The project is a public-private partnership between the government and Indonesian satellite service provider PT Satelit Nusantara Tiga.

(Reporting by Dewi Kurniawati; Editing by Gayatri Suroyo, Kanupriya Kapoor)

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