Indonesia launches internet-only satellite, Nusantara Satu

26 Feb 2019

The Jakarta Post writes that Indonesian telecoms company Pasifik Satelit Nusantara (PSN) has launched the country’s ‘highest capacity’ satellite to date – dubbed Nusantara Satu – which promises to help bridge the digital divide and boost economic activity in regions outside Java. Launched aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 space rocket at Cape Canaveral in the United States, the Nusantara Satu project cost USD230 million to get off the ground and was 30% financed by PSN’s internal funds, with state-owned export credit agency Export Development stumping up the other 70%. Once it reaches its geostationary orbit Nusantara Satu, which has a capacity of 15,000Mbps, is expected to provide internet connectivity of up to 3Mbps for 10,000 Indonesian villages this year.

With some 25 million Indonesians, mostly in eastern Indonesia, unable to access conventional internet access platforms, PSN president director Adi Rahman Adiwoso told reporters that his company can plug a gap in the market. ‘We cannot enter Java because it has enough internet connectivity, either through 4G or fibre-optic. So our service, which is more expensive, cannot compete there,’ he said. Instead, PSN aims to promote its satellite internet to remote villages at rates of IDR100,000 (USD7.13) per gigabyte (GB) – which compares to other providers that sell 30GB for IDR30,000 in Java. PSN expects to generate annual revenue of over USD55 million from Nusantara Satu’s operations and its confidence is highlighted by the fact that it has begun working on two more satellites named Nusantara Dua and Nusantara Tiga, which are slated for launch in 2020 and 2022 respectively.