Indonesia on Monday launched the largest communications satellite from the United States in partnership with Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
Remote areas of the archipelago were to be connected to the internet through the $540 million project.
Nearly two-thirds of Indonesia’s 280 million people now access the internet, but connectivity is sparse in the country’s remote, poor eastern islands.
In a statement issued prior to the launch, Mahfud MD, a senior Indonesian minister, predicted that within the next ten years, satellite technology will speed up internet connection to villages in places that could not yet be accessed by fibre optics.
The 4.5-ton Republic of Indonesia satellite was created by Thales Alenia Space and sent into orbit from Florida by SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. The rocket then made a precise landing at an offshore location.
Eastern Papua in Indonesia will be covered by the satellite’s orbit. According to the Indonesian government, it will give 50,000 public service points access to the internet and has a throughput capacity of 150 gigabytes per second.