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Jokowi’s luxurious herbal medicine, Elon Musk once begged for subsidies, rejected by Biden

Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – Elon Musk has just launched the Starlink satellite internet service in Bali. Musk was given the red carpet while in Indonesia, starting from arriving until taking part in a series of events at the 2024 World Water Forum.

When he arrived by private plane in Bali, Musk was met by the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Pandjaitan. After dinner and photos with the ministers, Musk launched Starlink at a health center in Bali accompanied by Minister of Health Budi Gunadi Sadikin and Minister of Communications and Information Budi Arie Setiadi.

Musk was then asked to give the first speech at the opening of the World Water Forum which was attended by President Jokowi and world leaders. In the afternoon, Musk and the SpaceX team were given the opportunity to meet with Jokowi.

The massive response to the entry of Starlink services in Indonesia is somewhat different from the treatment of the government of Musk’s home country, the United States, towards Starlink.

Elon Musk was angry on social media X because Starlink failed to receive subsidies from the Joe Biden administration. Starlink’s request for a US$ 885.5 million (Rp. 13.84 trillion) subsidy was rejected by the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

In August 2022, the FCC canceled subsidies for providing internet in remote areas to Starlink. The reason is that Starlink cannot fulfill their commitment.

The basis for the FCC’s decision was internet speed data from services that Starlink has provided to 642,000 homes and businesses in 35 US states. Starlink then challenged the FCC’s decision, but was again rejected.

“The FCC has followed a thorough legal, policy and technical review to ensure [Starlink’s] application fails to carry out its obligations,” said FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel, as quoted by Reuters , Wednesday (13/12/2023).

SpaceX stated that it was “extremely disappointed and confused” by the FCC’s decision because Starlink “has demonstrated that it is one of the best options, and perhaps the best option” for implementing internet procurement programs in remote areas.

Two of the five members of the FCC commission gave a different decision. According to them, the FCC deliberately accelerated 3 years, a target that SpaceX should only have achieved in 2025. The two members from the opposition party, the Republican Party, said that the cancellation of subsidies to SpaceX was influenced by the Joe Biden government’s anger at Elon Musk.

FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr stated that the FCC “adds to a long list of government agencies taking actions detrimental to Elon Musk’s businesses” and stated that the decision “fits a pattern of the Biden administration using regulation to disrupt business.”

Musk via Twitter X said that the FCC’s decision “makes no sense.” Starlink, according to Musk, is the only company that can complete the internet network in remote areas “at scale”. “They should cancel the program or return their funds to taxpayers, but don’t give it to those who can’t do it,” Musk said.