Telkomsel weighs unblocking Netflix, says 4 million users want to access streaming platform

Screen grab showing Netflix’s Bahasa Indonesia user interface.
Screen grab showing Netflix’s Bahasa Indonesia user interface.

State-owned mobile internet service provider Telkomsel — Indonesia’s largest — says it’s considering lifting its block on Netflix as it recognizes a great demand from its customers to access the popular streaming platform.

Telkomsel President Director Emma Sri Martini, who assumed her post in May, said Netflix could soon be open to all Telkomsel customers.

“Netflix is being considered, but it’s still blocked on regulation grounds,” she said, as quoted by Kompas.

Since Netflix became available in Indonesia in 2016, the video streaming platform has remained unavailable to a large number of Indonesians — specifically, customers of state-owned telco Telkom who subscribe to its home internet service Indihome, mobile internet service Telkomsel, or its public Wi-Fi service Wifi.id. While Telkom previously said that the block was based on censorship grounds, many suspected that it was only trying to protect its own business interests of affiliated streaming platforms.

The Business Competition Supervisory Commission (KPPU) said it was contemplating launching an investigation into the suspicion earlier this year, but there has been no update on its progress since.

Nonetheless, Emma said Telkomsel may end up unblocking Netflix to appease its large customer base.

“In terms of demand, there’s a lot. There are 4 million [Telkomsel] users who want access [to Netflix] every month,” she said.

Emma added that the main point of consideration in unblocking Netflix is local regulations.

“We have [regulations] on pornography and SARA (tribal affiliations, religion, race and societal groups). Meanwhile, Netflix adheres to US regulations, which are more relaxed,” she said.

The Telkomsel chief did not say how likely it is that Telkomsel would lift its Netflix ban, nor give any timeframe as to when to expect a policy reversal.

Related: Indonesian Broadcast Commission wants to monitor Netflix & Youtube, IT Ministry says it must have legal justification

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