JAKARTA, Indonesia – Indonesia’s state-owned telecommunications company said it has blocked the Internet video service Netflix in a possible setback to the U.S. company’s expansion in Asia.
PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia said in a statement it blocked Netflix beginning Wednesday because it lacks a permit to operate in Indonesia. The service was still available Thursday via other network operators.
The statement said PT Telekomunikas was also protecting its customers from inappropriate content such as pornography and depictions of violence that are illegal in Indonesia.
Netflix started operating in Indonesia earlier this month as part of a broad international expansion. It currently has nearly 75 million subscribers, including 30 million outside the U.S.
A Netflix statement said “services delivered over the Internet present all sorts of novel questions for policymakers” but did not confirm it was blocked. It noted that only paying customers can watch programs or films on Netflix.
Indonesia with a population of more than 250 million people is a potentially lucrative market for Netflix. It wants to expand into China, too, but is still looking for a partner in that country, where it will also have to tailor to service to satisfy government regulators who ban programming they consider objectionable or politically inflammatory.