In the not-too-distant future, Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite network, orbiting in low Earth orbit, is set to grace the skies over Indonesia, employing both Ka Band and Ku Band frequencies.
This development has been officially confirmed by the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (Kemenkominfo). According to Denny Setiawan, the Director of Resource Management at the Directorate General of SDPPI Kemenkominfo, Starlink’s satellite utilization in Indonesia will occur through a business-to-business (B2B) collaboration with Telkomsat, a subsidiary of PT Telkom Indonesia (Persero) Tbk. Notably, they have already obtained the necessary radio station permits (ISR) for Ka and Ku band frequencies.
Specifically, Starlink is anticipated to utilize the 14.0 GHz – 14.5 GHz and 10.7 GHz – 12.7 GHz bands for Ku-Band transmissions, while for Ka Band, the frequency ranges encompass 27.5 GHz-30 GHz and 17.8 GHz – 19.3 GHz.
Denny Setiawan offered insights into this technological development, stating, “Starlink satellites are designed to operate within the Ka band for the gateway and the Ku band for user links. In addressing potential interference concerns, appropriate measures have been taken prior to Telkomsat’s implementation of Starlink services.”
This insight, as reported by Bisnis on Monday (18/9/2023), highlights the meticulous planning and consideration involved in ensuring the smooth deployment of these satellite services.
To delve into technical specifics, the Ka frequency band represents a microwave frequency range extending from 18 GHz to 40 GHz. Within this, the Ka frequency band uplink covers a spectrum ranging from 27.5 GHz to 31 GHz, and the Ka frequency band downlink spans the frequencies of 18.3 GHz – 18.8 GHz and 19.7 GHz – 20.2 GHz. The significance of this frequency spectrum lies in its compatibility with small-diameter antennas, making it a versatile and cost-effective choice.
Moreover, the Ka Band is known for its ability to significantly reduce data latency, ensuring a more seamless and responsive user experience when utilizing satellite services in conjunction with Ka Band technology.
Denny Setiawan also underscored the meticulous attention paid to regulatory compliance. The frequency ranges employed by Starlink in both Ka and Ku bands adhere to the allocation norms set by international entities such as the ITU Radio Regulations.
This commitment to adhering to internationally recognized frequency allocation guidelines is complemented by the diligent observance of national regulations, specifically outlined in the Indonesian Radio Frequency Spectrum Allocation Table (TASFRI).
This development brings to the forefront the complex interplay of technological innovation, regulatory compliance, and the practical deployment of satellite services. It highlights the strategic partnership between Starlink and Telkomsat as they venture into providing cutting-edge satellite internet services to Indonesia’s populace.
Prior to this confirmation, there were discussions led by Ian Yosef M. Edward, the Head of the Center for Telecommunications Policy and Regulation Studies at Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB). He emphasized the necessity of securing radio frequency band permits (IPFR) for Starlink to offer its services directly to consumers. This is particularly pertinent as Starlink’s services are poised to enhance mobile internet connectivity for Indonesian users.
Ian posed critical questions regarding the allocation of frequency bands, stressing the importance of ensuring that the introduction of new frequency usage does not unduly disrupt existing frequency users or their operations.