Indonesia’s Top Telecom Provider Blocks Netflix

Netflix has been blocked by Indonesia’s biggest internet service provider, upsetting its move into the country.

Netflix-blocked
State-owned Telekomunikasi Indonesia, said Netflix had not met existing regulations such as obtaining a local business licence and opening an in-country office. Photo: Bloomberg

The state-owned telecoms firm said it had concerns about the content Netflix was offering and accused it of failing to have a necessary business permit.

The US company announced earlier this month that it had added 130 countries, including Indonesia, to its service – taking it almost worldwide.

Telekom Indonesia said Netflix needed to work with it to ensure objectionable content was removed.

“The issue is about the permit. They don’t follow the rules. They also display violence and adult content,” the firm’s consumer director Dian Rachmawan told the Jakarta Post newspaper.

“We must [block it] before things get more complicated and create a serious issue.”

Netflix should cooperate with fixed broadband in Indonesia, such as IndiHome, Dian said. By cooperation with a local internet provider, Netflix’s content can be filtered properly following the regulations in Indonesia.

He pointed out the cooperation that Netflix has already undertaken with Singtel in Singapore and with Telecom in Italy. Without such cooperation, the Vietnamese government has planned to block Netflix.

“We must do it [blocking] earlier, before things get more complicated and create a serious issue,” Dian argued, explaining that the step would not affect Telkom’s business as Netflix customers were currently small in number.

Earlier, Telkom expressed interest in cooperating with Netflix. Most of the video-streaming viewers use fixed broadband as mobile data plans are expensive and Netflix uses up to one gigabit (GB) of data per hour.

The country’s government said that it was not behind the move.

“Other internet service providers are still allowing Netflix access. So, it is a pure corporate decision,” said communications minister Rudiantara.

“[But] it will be difficult for Netflix. You can see for yourself on how much content there is [in Netflix] that must be censored.”

Indonesia is one of Asia’s most highly populated nations with about 250 million people living amongst its islands. Many of those people, however, would not have fast enough internet access to stream video.

Netflix has not disclosed how it intends to address the issue.

“We’ve seen these reports too and are looking into it. No further comment,” a spokesman told the BBC.

Communications and Information Minister Rudiantara gave Netflix a grace period to enter Indonesia freely until Feb. 7 for promotion purposes.

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