Tech billionaire Elon Musk
Tech billionaire Elon Musk (left) walks with Indonesia's Coordinating Minister of Maritime and Investment Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan (centre) during his arrival at Ngurah Rai International airport in Denpasar on Indonesia's Bali island on May 19, 2024. Image Credit: AFP

Denpasar, Indonesia: Tech billionaire Elon Musk landed Sunday on Indonesia's resort island of Bali to launch his Starlink service, aimed at extending internet access to remote areas of the country.

Millions of people in Indonesia, a vast archipelago of more than 17,000 islands, currently lack reliable internet services.

Making his first visit to the Southeast Asian nation, Musk is scheduled to launch Starlink alongside President Joko Widodo at a clinic in Bali's capital, Denpasar, on Sunday afternoon.

Maritime and Investment Coordinating Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan highlighted Starlink's potential. "Starlink has the capability to reach even the most remote areas of Indonesia," he said. "I had the opportunity to pick up Elon at the airport this morning and then discuss some of his agenda items while he's here," the minister wrote on his official Instagram account. "One of the key topics was the launch of the Starlink internet service."

According to Luhut, Musk will also speak at the World Water Forum, which is currently being held on the island.

Starlink's services will be trialed this month in Indonesia's new capital, Nusantara, on the island of Borneo, which is set to open in August, according to officials. The Indonesian government is moving the capital from traffic-clogged Jakarta, where researchers warn that large areas could be underwater by 2050 due to rising sea levels and land subsidence.

After the trial, Starlink, which acquired a permit to operate in Indonesia earlier this month, could be rolled out commercially across the archipelago. Starlink is already available in Southeast Asia in Malaysia and the Philippines. Using a network of low Earth orbit satellites, Starlink can provide internet to remote locations or areas where normal communications infrastructure has been disabled.

According to the World Bank, about two-thirds of Indonesia's roughly 270 million people had access to the internet as of 2022.