Google Brings Cellular Service to Puerto Rico Using Balloons

FILE PHOTO - The Google logo is pictured atop an office building in Irvine, California, U.S. August 7, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Picture
FILE PHOTO - The Google logo is pictured atop an office building in Irvine, California, U.S. August 7, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Picture
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Google Brings Cellular Service to Puerto Rico Using Balloons

FILE PHOTO - The Google logo is pictured atop an office building in Irvine, California, U.S. August 7, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Picture
FILE PHOTO - The Google logo is pictured atop an office building in Irvine, California, U.S. August 7, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Picture

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced it had granted Alphabet Inc. the green light to use solar power balloons to bring cellular service to Puerto Rico, which has struggled to regain communications services since Hurricane Maria hit last month.

The FCC said on Friday that 83 percent of cell sites remain out of service, while wireless communications company are deploying temporary sites.

"FCC issues experimental license to Google to provide emergency cellular service in Puerto Rico through Project Loon balloons," Matthew Berry, chief of staff to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, stated on Twitter.

Pai said on Friday he was was forming a Hurricane Recovery Task Force focused on addressing challenges facing Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands

“It is critical that we adopt a coordinated and comprehensive approach to support the rebuilding of communications infrastructure and restoration of communications services. The Hurricane Recovery Task Force will allow us to do just that," Pai also said.

Musk, the chief executive of Tesla Inc, said on Friday the company would send more battery installers to Puerto Rico to help restore power after Hurricane Maria knocked out all power on the island over two weeks ago, Reuters reported.

Tesla had previously said, in late September, that it was sending to Puerto Rico hundreds of batteries that can rely on solar panels to store power which provides emergency aid in the wake of Hurricane Maria.



AI-intensive Sectors are Showing Productivity Surge, PwC says

AI (Artificial Intelligence) letters and robot hand miniature in this illustration taken, June 23, 2023. (Reuters)
AI (Artificial Intelligence) letters and robot hand miniature in this illustration taken, June 23, 2023. (Reuters)
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AI-intensive Sectors are Showing Productivity Surge, PwC says

AI (Artificial Intelligence) letters and robot hand miniature in this illustration taken, June 23, 2023. (Reuters)
AI (Artificial Intelligence) letters and robot hand miniature in this illustration taken, June 23, 2023. (Reuters)

The types of business which are most likely to use artificial intelligence are seeing growth in workers' productivity that is almost five times faster than elsewhere, raising hopes for a boost to the broader economy, accountancy firm PwC said.

Productivity in professional and financial services and in information technology grew by 4.3% between 2018 and 2022 compared with gains of 0.9% across construction, manufacturing and retail, food and transport, PwC said.

The data suggested that the rise of artificial intelligence could help countries to break out of a rut of low productivity growth which would boost economic growth, wages and living standards, PwC said in a report published on Tuesday, Reuters reported.

Carol Stubbings, leader of PwC Global Markets and Tax & Legal Services, said highly productive sectors had faster growth in job ads for people with AI skills than without, suggesting AI played a role in these sectors' higher productivity.

The trend of productivity growth generated by the technology was likely to accelerate as companies increasingly deployed generative AI which can be used by non-AI specialists, she said.

"The challenge with AI, and particularly generative AI, is the speed of the change," Stubbings said.

Last week the head of the International Monetary Fund Kristalina Georgieva said AI was hitting the global labour market "like a tsunami" and was likely to have an impact on 60% of jobs in advanced economies in the next two years.

The PwC report tracked and analysed over half a billion job ads from 15 rich countries and used data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

It said jobs that require AI skills - including AI-specialist and non-specialist roles - carried a average premium of 25% in the US and 14% in Britain.


Samsung Electronics Picks Veteran Executive to Tackle 'Chip Crisis' amid AI Boom

A Samsung sign is displayed, during the GSMA's 2023 Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain March 1, 2023. (Reuters)
A Samsung sign is displayed, during the GSMA's 2023 Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain March 1, 2023. (Reuters)
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Samsung Electronics Picks Veteran Executive to Tackle 'Chip Crisis' amid AI Boom

A Samsung sign is displayed, during the GSMA's 2023 Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain March 1, 2023. (Reuters)
A Samsung sign is displayed, during the GSMA's 2023 Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain March 1, 2023. (Reuters)

Samsung Electronics has replaced the chief of its semiconductor division to help the group overcome a "chip crisis", amid a booming market for AI chips where analyst say the world's biggest memory chipmaker lags peers.

The South Korean manufacturer on Tuesday said it has appointed Young Hyun Jun, effective immediately, moving him from the role as head of its future business planning unit.

Jun previously led Samsung's memory chip department after working on the development of DRAM and flash memory chips.

The move is likely aimed at catching up in the market for top-end chips used in artificial intelligence (AI) such as high bandwidth memory (HBM) chips where Samsung has fallen behind rivals such as SK Hynix, analysts said, Reuters reported.

"This is a preemptive measure to strengthen future competitiveness by renewing the atmosphere internally and externally," Samsung Electronics said in a statement.

The firm said Jun, a former chief executive at battery arm Samsung SDI and former executive at Samsung Electronics' memory chip business, would help overcome the "chip crisis" with his management know-how.

Replacing such a high-ranking position in the middle of the year is unusual, given most personnel changes at Samsung normally take place in the beginning of the year, analysts said.

Current chip division chief Kye Hyun Kyung will succeed Jun as head of the future business unit.

"The chip division has been lagging in competitiveness on various fronts. It also missed a lot of the global AI upward trend," said analyst Lee Min-hee at BNK Investment & Securities.


Arab Leaders Approve Riyadh as Headquarters for Arab Cybersecurity Ministers Council

A general view of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
A general view of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
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Arab Leaders Approve Riyadh as Headquarters for Arab Cybersecurity Ministers Council

A general view of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
A general view of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (SPA)

Arab leaders approved the basic system for the Council of Arab Cybersecurity Ministers during the 33rd Arab Summit being held in Manama, Bahrain. The Arab League welcomed Saudi Arabia's proposal to establish the ministerial council.
The basic system for the council includes that it will operate under the umbrella of the Arab League and will have its permanent headquarters in Riyadh, with a general secretariat and an executive office in the host country, SPA reported.
The council's responsibilities include setting general policies, developing strategies and priorities to enhance Arab collective efforts in cybersecurity, promoting cybersecurity initiatives and programs, and addressing all cybersecurity issues at security, economic, developmental, and legislative levels.
Saudi Minister of State, Member of the Cabinet, and Chairman of the Board of the National Cybersecurity Authority Dr. Musaed bin Mohammed Al-Aiban emphasized that the Kingdom’s proposal to establish the council comes amid the increasing cyber threats worldwide, as they now pose a danger to countries' stability and hinder their development plans.
He expressed deep gratitude to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for their wise guidance, continuous support, and keenness to enhance joint Arab efforts, preserve Arab security, and ensure stability.
The council was established based on a proposal put forth by the Kingdom and received unanimous support from all Arab countries.
The council's objectives include developing and strengthening cooperation among Arab countries in all aspects related to cybersecurity, coordinating efforts, and exchanging knowledge, experiences, studies, and relevant experiments.
It also aims to work on protecting the interests of member states in international organizations related to cybersecurity through joint coordination, unify the Arab position regarding cybersecurity at international organizations and entities, and contribute to creating a safe and reliable Arab cyberspace that enables growth and prosperity for all member states.


Microsoft Kicks off Product Event with AI Devices in Focus

 A view shows a Microsoft logo at Microsoft offices in Issy-les-Moulineaux near Paris, France, February 9, 2024. (Reuters)
A view shows a Microsoft logo at Microsoft offices in Issy-les-Moulineaux near Paris, France, February 9, 2024. (Reuters)
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Microsoft Kicks off Product Event with AI Devices in Focus

 A view shows a Microsoft logo at Microsoft offices in Issy-les-Moulineaux near Paris, France, February 9, 2024. (Reuters)
A view shows a Microsoft logo at Microsoft offices in Issy-les-Moulineaux near Paris, France, February 9, 2024. (Reuters)

Microsoft kicked off a product event on Monday where it is expected to debut hardware and software related to consumer devices and AI.

At the event on its campus in Redmond, Washington, the Windows maker is expected to reveal a new version of its Surface Pro tablet and Surface Laptop that feature Qualcomm chips based on Arm Holdings' architecture.

After Intel's processors dominated the personal computer market for decades, Qualcomm and other makers of lower-power Arm components have tried to compete in the Windows-PC market.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite chips include a so-called neural processing unit that is designed to accelerate AI-focused applications, such as Microsoft's Copilot software.

Microsoft held the product event a day before the start of its annual developer conference.

Microsoft aims to extend its early advantage in the race to produce AI tools that consumers are willing to pay for. Its partnership with ChatGPT maker OpenAI allowed it to jump ahead of Alphabet, as other Big Tech companies race to dominate the emerging field.

Last week, OpenAI and Alphabet's Google showcased dueling AI technologies that can respond via voice in real time and be interrupted, both hallmarks of realistic voice conversations that AI voice assistants have found challenging. Google also announced it was rolling out several generative AI features to its lucrative search engine.

The PC industry has been under increasing pressure from Apple since the company launched its custom chips based on designs from Arm and ditched Intel's processors. The Apple-designed processors have given Mac computers superior battery life and speedier performance than rivals' chips that use more energy.

Microsoft tapped Qualcomm to lead the effort to move the Windows operating system to Arm's chip designs in 2016. Qualcomm has exclusivity on Microsoft Windows devices that expires this year. Other chip designers such as Nvidia have efforts under way to make their own Arm-based PC chips, Reuters has previously reported.


Self-Proclaimed Bitcoin Inventor Lied ‘Repeatedly’ to Support Claim, Says UK Judge

A man walks past a bitcoin poster in Hong Kong on April 15, 2024. DALE DE LA REY / AFP
A man walks past a bitcoin poster in Hong Kong on April 15, 2024. DALE DE LA REY / AFP
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Self-Proclaimed Bitcoin Inventor Lied ‘Repeatedly’ to Support Claim, Says UK Judge

A man walks past a bitcoin poster in Hong Kong on April 15, 2024. DALE DE LA REY / AFP
A man walks past a bitcoin poster in Hong Kong on April 15, 2024. DALE DE LA REY / AFP

An Australian computer scientist who claimed he invented bitcoin lied "extensively and repeatedly" and forged documents "on a grand scale" to support his false claim, a judge at London's High Court ruled on Monday.

Craig Wright had long claimed to have been the author of a 2008 white paper, the foundational text of bitcoin, published under the pseudonym "Satoshi Nakamoto".

But Judge James Mellor ruled in March that the evidence Wright was not Satoshi was "overwhelming", after a trial in a case brought by the Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA) to stop Wright suing bitcoin developers.

Mellor gave reasons for his conclusions on Monday, stating in a written ruling: "Dr Wright presents himself as an extremely clever person. However, in my judgment, he is not nearly as clever as he thinks he is."

The judge added: "All his lies and forged documents were in support of his biggest lie: his claim to be Satoshi Nakamoto."

Mellor also said that Wright's actions in suing developers and his expressed views about bitcoin also pointed against him being Satoshi, Reuters reported.

Wright, who denied forging documents when he gave evidence in February, said in a post on X: "I fully intend to appeal the decision of the court on the matter of the identity issue."

COPA – whose members include Twitter founder Jack Dorsey's payments firm Block – described Monday's ruling as "a watershed moment for the open-source community".

"Developers can now continue their important work maintaining, iterating on, and improving the bitcoin network without risking their personal livelihoods or fearing costly and time-consuming litigation from Craig Wright," a COPA spokesperson said.


Google Invests 1 billion Euros in Finnish Data Center to Drive AI Growth

The Google logo is seen on the Google house at CES 2024, an annual consumer electronics trade show, in Las Vegas, Nevada, US, January 10, 2024. (Reuters)
The Google logo is seen on the Google house at CES 2024, an annual consumer electronics trade show, in Las Vegas, Nevada, US, January 10, 2024. (Reuters)
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Google Invests 1 billion Euros in Finnish Data Center to Drive AI Growth

The Google logo is seen on the Google house at CES 2024, an annual consumer electronics trade show, in Las Vegas, Nevada, US, January 10, 2024. (Reuters)
The Google logo is seen on the Google house at CES 2024, an annual consumer electronics trade show, in Las Vegas, Nevada, US, January 10, 2024. (Reuters)

Alphabet-owned Google will invest a further 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) into the expansion of its data center campus in Finland to drive its artificial intelligence (AI) business growth in Europe, it said in a statement on Monday.

In recent years, many data centers have been located in the Nordic countries because of the region's cooler climate, tax breaks and abundant availability of renewable power.

Finland's Nordic neighbours Sweden and Norway have recently grown increasingly critical of hosting them, with some industry experts arguing the Nordic countries should use their renewable power for products such as green steel that could leave higher surplus value in the countries.

But Finland's wind power capacity has increased so rapidly in recent years, by 75% to 5,677 megawatts in 2022 alone, that on windy days prices have plummeted to negative, industry statistics showed, Reuters reported.

Therefore there is still renewable capacity available for data centers such as Google's, which acquires wind power in Finland under long term contracts.

Analysts believe data centers' power consumption is set to massively increase due to the rapid growth in AI usage, which Google, too, cited for one of the reasons behind its investment decision, alongside its Hamina data center in Finland already operating with 97% carbon-free energy.

"Heat coming out of our Finnish data center will be re-routed to the district heating network in nearby Hamina, covering local households, schools and public service buildings," Google said in the statement. It added that it aimed to achieve net zero emissions across all of its operations and value chain by 2030.

In addition to its Finnish investment, the search and cloud giant announced last month it would build new data centers in the Netherlands and Belgium.


Apple Slashes iPhone Prices in China Amid Fierce Huawei Competition

FILE PHOTO: People look at the new iPhone 15 Pro as Apple's new iPhone 15 officially goes on sale across China at an Apple store in Shanghai, China September 22, 2023. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: People look at the new iPhone 15 Pro as Apple's new iPhone 15 officially goes on sale across China at an Apple store in Shanghai, China September 22, 2023. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo
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Apple Slashes iPhone Prices in China Amid Fierce Huawei Competition

FILE PHOTO: People look at the new iPhone 15 Pro as Apple's new iPhone 15 officially goes on sale across China at an Apple store in Shanghai, China September 22, 2023. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: People look at the new iPhone 15 Pro as Apple's new iPhone 15 officially goes on sale across China at an Apple store in Shanghai, China September 22, 2023. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

Apple has launched an aggressive discounting campaign on its official Tmall site in China, offering discounts of up to 2,300 yuan ($318) on select iPhone models.
The discounting comes as the US tech giant seeks to defend its position in the high-end smartphone market, where it faces increasing competition from local rivals such as Huawei .
Running from May 20 to May 28, it is more substantial than the one Apple offered in February.
While the highest discount in the February campaign was 1,150 yuan, this time discounts are up to 2,300 yuan. The steepest discount applies to the 1TB iPhone 15 Pro Max model, while other models also see significant price cuts.
For instance, the 128 GB version of the base iPhone 15 model has a discount of 1,400 yuan, according to Reuters' checks on Monday.
The increased competitive pressure on Apple comes after Huawei last month introduced its new series of high-end smartphones, the Pura 70, following the launch of the Mate 60 last August.
Apple's previous discounting effort in February appears to have helped the company mitigate a sales slowdown in China.
Apple's shipments in China increased by 12% in March, according to Reuters' calculations based on data from the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT). This marks a significant improvement from the first two months of 2024, when the company experienced a 37% slump in sales.


South Korea, Britain Host AI Summit with Safety Top of Agenda

The explosive growth of generative AI has sparked fears about its safety. Stefani REYNOLDS / AFP/File
The explosive growth of generative AI has sparked fears about its safety. Stefani REYNOLDS / AFP/File
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South Korea, Britain Host AI Summit with Safety Top of Agenda

The explosive growth of generative AI has sparked fears about its safety. Stefani REYNOLDS / AFP/File
The explosive growth of generative AI has sparked fears about its safety. Stefani REYNOLDS / AFP/File

South Korea and Britain kick off a major international summit on artificial intelligence in Seoul this week, where governments plan to press tech firms on AI safety.
The meeting is a follow-up to the inaugural global AI safety summit at Bletchley Park in Britain last year, where dozens of countries voiced their fears to leading AI firms about the risks posed by their tech, AFP said.
Safety is again on the agenda at the AI Seoul Summit starting Tuesday and representatives are expected from leading AI firms, including ChatGPT maker OpenAI, Google DeepMind, French AI firm Mistral, Microsoft and Anthropic.
"As with any new technology, AI brings new risks, including deliberate misuse from those who mean to do us harm," South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Monday in a joint article.
"However, with new models being released almost every week, we are still learning where these risks may emerge," they said in the piece, published by the South Korean daily JoongAng Ilbo and Britain's i newspaper.
The stratospheric success of ChatGPT soon after its 2022 release sparked a gold rush in generative AI, with tech firms around the world pouring billions of dollars into developing their own models.
Generative AI models can generate text, photos, audio and even video from simple prompts, and its proponents have heralded them as a breakthrough that will improve lives and businesses around the world.
But critics, rights activists and governments have warned that they can be misused in a wide variety of situations, including the manipulation of voters through fake news stories or so-called "deepfake" pictures and videos of politicians.
- Dramatic changes -
Many have called for international standards to govern the development and use of AI.
"When we meet with companies at the AI Seoul Summit, we will ask them to do more to show how they assess and respond to risk within their organizations," Yoon and Sunak wrote.
"We will also take the next steps on shaping the global standards that will avoid a race to the bottom."

The Seoul summit comes days after OpenAI confirmed that it had disbanded a team devoted to mitigating the long-term dangers of advanced AI.
The two-day summit will be partly virtual, with a mix of closed-door sessions and some open to the public in Seoul.
However, a group of six South Korean civil society organizations, including the prominent Peoples Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, criticized the summit's organizers for not including more developing nations.
"It would be beneficial to discuss international norms for AI in a more open forum where all countries and diverse stakeholders from around the world can participate equally, rather than in an elite club of a few developed countries," they said in a joint statement on Monday.
In addition to safety, the summit will discuss how governments can help spur innovation, including into AI research at universities.
Participants will also consider ways to ensure the technology is open to all and can aid in tackling issues such as climate change and poverty.
"It is just six months since world leaders met at Bletchley, but even in this short space of time, the landscape of AI has changed dramatically," Yoon and Sunak said.
"The pace of change will only continue to accelerate, so our work must accelerate too."
France will host the next AI safety summit.


A Former OpenAI Leader Says Safety Has 'Taken a Backseat to Shiny Products' at the AI Company

 OpenAI showed off the latest update to its artificial intelligence model, which can mimic human cadences in its verbal responses and can even try to detect people’s moods. - The AP.
OpenAI showed off the latest update to its artificial intelligence model, which can mimic human cadences in its verbal responses and can even try to detect people’s moods. - The AP.
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A Former OpenAI Leader Says Safety Has 'Taken a Backseat to Shiny Products' at the AI Company

 OpenAI showed off the latest update to its artificial intelligence model, which can mimic human cadences in its verbal responses and can even try to detect people’s moods. - The AP.
OpenAI showed off the latest update to its artificial intelligence model, which can mimic human cadences in its verbal responses and can even try to detect people’s moods. - The AP.

A former OpenAI leader who resigned from the company earlier this week said that safety has “taken a backseat to shiny products” at the influential artificial intelligence company.

Jan Leike, who ran OpenAI's “Superalignment” team alongside a company co-founder who also resigned this week, wrote in a series of posts on the social media platform X that he joined the San Francisco-based company because he thought it would be the best place to do AI research.

“However, I have been disagreeing with OpenAI leadership about the company’s core priorities for quite some time, until we finally reached a breaking point,” wrote Leike, whose last day was Thursday, The AP reported.

An AI researcher by training, Leike said he believes there should be more focus on preparing for the next generation of AI models, including on things like safety and analyzing the societal impacts of such technologies. He said building “smarter-than-human machines is an inherently dangerous endeavor” and that the company “is shouldering an enormous responsibility on behalf of all of humanity.”

“OpenAI must become a safety-first AGI company,” wrote Leike, using the abbreviated version of artificial general intelligence, a futuristic vision of machines that are as broadly smart as humans or at least can do many things as well as people can.

Open AI CEO Sam Altman wrote in a reply to Leike's posts that he was “super appreciative” of Leike's contributions to the company was “very sad to see him leave.”

Leike is "right we have a lot more to do; we are committed to doing it,” Altman said, pledging to write a longer post on the subject in the coming days.

The company also confirmed Friday that it had disbanded Leike's Superalignment team, which was launched last year to focus on AI risks, and is integrating the team's members across its research efforts.

Leike’s resignation came after OpenAI co-founder and chief scientist Ilya Sutskever said Tuesday that he was leaving the company after nearly a decade. Sutskever was one of four board members last fall who voted to push out Altman — only to quickly reinstate him. It was Sutskever who told Altman last November that he was being fired, but he later said he regretted doing so.

Sutskever said he is working on a new project that's meaningful to him without offering additional details. He will be replaced by Jakub Pachocki as chief scientist. Altman called Pachocki “also easily one of the greatest minds of our generation” and said he is “very confident he will lead us to make rapid and safe progress towards our mission of ensuring that AGI benefits everyone.”


Elon Musk Launches Starlink Satellite Internet Service in Indonesia

Tesla and SpaceX's CEO Elon Musk pauses during an in-conversation event with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in London, Britain, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023. (Reuters)
Tesla and SpaceX's CEO Elon Musk pauses during an in-conversation event with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in London, Britain, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023. (Reuters)
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Elon Musk Launches Starlink Satellite Internet Service in Indonesia

Tesla and SpaceX's CEO Elon Musk pauses during an in-conversation event with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in London, Britain, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023. (Reuters)
Tesla and SpaceX's CEO Elon Musk pauses during an in-conversation event with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in London, Britain, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023. (Reuters)

Elon Musk traveled to Indonesia’s resort island of Bali on Sunday to launch Starlink satellite internet service in the world’s largest archipelago nation.

Wearing a green Batik shirt, Musk was greeted with a garland of flower petals at a community health clinic in Denpasar, the provincial capital of Bali, where he launched the Starlink service alongside Indonesian ministers, The AP reported.

Indonesia, a vast archipelago of 17,000 islands sprawled across three time zones with a population of more than 270 million, has been trying for years to secure deals with Musk's Tesla on battery investment and for Musk’s SpaceX to provide fast internet for the country’s remote regions.

During the ceremony, Musk took a speed test of the Starlink internet service with several health workers in Indonesia’s remote regions, including in Aru, one of Indonesia’s unserved and outermost islands in Maluku province.

“This can make it really a lifesaver for remote medical clinics, and I think it could be a possibility for education as well,” Musk told reporters.

“If you can access the internet and then you can learn anything and you can also sell your business services worldwide. So, I think it’s going to be incredibly beneficial," he said.

He also signed an agreement on enhancing connectivity in the country’s health and education sectors. Details about the agreement between the Indonesian government and Musk’s SpaceX, the aerospace company that operates Starlink services, were not provided.

Launching the service at a health clinic aligns with Starlink’s broader mission of providing affordable access to high-speed internet services, particularly in underserved and remote regions, said Coordinating Minister of Maritime and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan.

“Our remote regions need Starlink to expand high-speed internet services, especially to help with problems in the health, education and maritime sectors,” Pandjaitan, a close ally of Indonesia's President Joko Widodo, told reporters. He held separate talks with Musk on Sunday.

Communication and Informatics Minister Budi Arie Setiadi said earlier that local internet providers, which rely on base transceiver stations to transmit signals, are unable to reach outer islands because they have limited coverage. Starlink’s satellites, which remain in low orbit, will help them deliver faster internet with nationwide coverage.

Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said of the more than 10,000 clinics across the country, there are still around 2,700 without internet access.

“The internet can open up better access to health services as communication between regions is said to be easier, so that reporting from health service facilities can be done in real time or up to date,” he said.

During his first in-person visit to Bali, Musk is also scheduled to participate in the 10th World Water Forum, which seeks to address global water and sanitation challenges.

Musk spoke in 2022 at the B-20 business forum ahead of a summit of the Group of 20 leading economies that took place in Bali. He joined the conference by video link weeks after completing his heavily scrutinized takeover of Twitter.

Musk’s visit comes just weeks after Apple CEO Tim Cook met Widodo on April 17 and said the company would “look at” manufacturing in Indonesia. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella visited on April 30 and said the company would invest $1.7 billion over the next four years in new cloud and artificial intelligence infrastructure in Indonesia.

Indonesia under Widodo has promoted development of the digital technology and information sectors, aiming to achieve the government’s Golden Indonesia 2045 Vision. The country hopes to become one of the world’s top five economies with a GDP of up to $9 trillion, exactly a century after it won independence from Dutch colonizers.