SpaceX applies for Indonesia internet service provider permit, government says

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch from California

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Elon Musk's SpaceX has applied to Indonesia's government for an internet service provider permit for its Starlink satellite unit, the communications ministry said on Thursday.

The application is a sign of Starlink's expansion in Southeast Asia after Malaysia issued it a license to provide internet services in the country last year, and a Philippine-based firm signed a deal with SpaceX in 2022.

Budi Arie Setiadi, Indonesia's minister of communications, said, "what's important is that we have to have a fair business, with a level-playing field."

He added Starlink will have a trial in Nusantara, Indonesia's new capital that is under construction in the jungles of Borneo island, sometime in 2024.

SpaceX's Starlink, which owns around 60% of the roughly 7,500 satellites orbiting earth, is dominant in the satellite internet sphere. It did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

Starlink has built a hub but has not fulfilled all the requirements to apply for an ISP permit, a ministry official Wayan Toni Supriyanto said.

(Reporting by Stanley Widianto; Editing by Martin Petty)