Indonesia: Anticipating the growing demand for connectivity and reduce the dependency on foreign operators, Indonesia is planning to deploy more satellites in space in near future. The country’s largest telecom operator, Telekomunikasi Indonesia, is scheduled to launch its Telkom 3S satellite next Wednesday (15/02), to replace its first-generation satellite that will be decommissioned this year.
Similarly, private satellite communication company, Pasifik Satelit Nusantara (PSN), is planning to launch its PSN-6 satellite in the next few months. Another Telkom satellite, Telkom 4, is in the pipeline to be launched next year.
“Demand for satellite communication here will continue to grow, based on the fact that Indonesia is a vast archipelago of 17,000 islands with a population of 252 million people, an increasing number of which are mobile phone, satellite TV, or consumer broadband users,” said Jonathan Hung, president of the Singapore Space and Technology Association (SSTA), a non-government organization that promotes space programs.
Indonesia currently has more satellite operators than any other country in Southeast Asia. They are Telkom, PSN, Media Citra Indostar, Indosat Ooreedoo and lender Bank Rakyat Indonesia.
But it still needs 100 satellite transponders to meet its telecommunication demands, forcing the country to rely on service from foreign satellite operators, the Indonesia Telecommunication Society (Mastel) said.
The government received applications for landing rights – or permits to receive and broadcast signals from within its borders – from 31 foreign satellite operators in the first six months of 2016, double the number in the same period a year earlier, Mastel said in a statement.
“Indonesia is clearly a very important market in the global satellite industry,” Hung said
He expects Indonesia’s satellite communication industry to grow at least 10 percent annually over the next few years, driven by growing demand for broadband data and video services.
“There will be always be debate over satellite versus cable, but in an archipelago as big as Indonesia, satellite is the only feasible way to provide services to people,” Hung said.
Satellites also offer more safety, proven reliability and stability of service to provide internet connectivity, compared with novel alternatives such as high-altitude balloons, proposed by Google, or drones flying in the stratosphere, as proposed by social media giant Facebook, Hung said.
Satellite makers now offer smaller satellites with improved capabilities, allowing them to analyze any data they gather from earth’s surface before sending it to ground control.
The Indonesian National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (Lapan) has been successful in developing earth observation satellites over the past few years, with the most recent being the Lapan A3, which was launched last June.