State-controlled Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Telkom), blocked Netflix streaming services on early Wednesday questioning the legality of the service as well as questioned whether it complied with Indonesian censorship laws. (JG Screenshot)

Telkom Proposes to Unblock Netflix In Exchange for Partnership


JANUARY 27, 2016

Jakarta. State-controlled Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Telkom), the country's largest network provider, has proposed a partnership with movie streaming service Netflix to manage its content for the Indonesian audience, in turn, granting Telkom's existing 140 million customer base access to the service.

Telkom blocked the US-based streaming services early on Wednesday (27/1) questioning the legality of the service as well as questioned whether it complied with Indonesian censorship laws, top executives at the company have said.

"We'd like for them to obey the rules in Indonesia [...] If we partner directly, we can manage Netflix through an over the top platform that Telkom has," Dian Rachmawan, director  of consumer service at Telkom, said on Wednesday, as quoted by news portal Indotelko.

As part of the proposed partnership agreement, Telkom will be allowed to filter content, including content that includes violence or explicit material.

In Singapore, the on-demand service has partnered with SingTel, a unit of the Singaporean government's investment arm, Temasek and privately-owned StarHub. For now, customers of Telkom fixed-line broadband Indihome, and its mobile subsidiary Telkomsel are not able to access Netflix.

A not so warm welcome

Although Telkom is the only network operator in Indonesia to have taken the stance so far, the move is likely to mark a dent on Netflix's grandeur plan to bring its service to 130 countries around the world, including Indonesia, that was announced earlier in January.

News of the service's entry was quickly embraced by social media by Indonesia's young and urban population who were familiar with the service due to pop culture references, as well as Netflix's award-winning productions.

To enjoy Netflix services, Indonesian users can choose from three monthly subscription plans on Netflix, with the basic plan priced at Rp 109,000 ($8) per month. 

However, questions and demands on the legal grounds of the business in Indonesia came as quickly as the hype that ensued.

Alexander Rusli, president director and chief executive officer of Indosat Ooredoo, earlier said that he welcomed Netflix, saying it adds variety to content for subscribers, although he pressed that the service comply with existing regulations in the country.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology has said it will give Netflix one month to comply with local regulations on film and broadcasting, either through a partnership with a local operator or through the creation of its own local unit in Indonesia.