How To Unblock and Watch Netflix On IndiHome in Indonesia

Updated: 20 March 2021
Updated: 20 March 2021

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How to unblock Netflix on IndiHome?

To gain seamless access to Netflix in Indonesia, just do the following:

  • Get ExpressVPN from the official website
  • Install the program
  • Connect to a suitable VPN server outside of Indonesia
  • Access Netflix unrestricted

In this guide, we explain a problem that affects many people based in Indonesia who wish to watch Netflix: The blocking (what some call ‘banning’) of Netflix from the IndiHome network. In this Guide we explain:

  • The problem for accessing Netflix from the IndiHome network;
  • Why this block is not a ban, nor government censorship
  • How to use a VPN to get around the IndiHome Netflix block;

  • Despite claims to the contrary, why this is not a breach of the Netflix terms of service;
  • That not all IP replacement services are likely to work to get around the block;
  • How to use a premium VPN, ExpressVPN to get around the block.

Why Can’t You Access Netflix from the IndiHome Network?

In some corners of the internet, people state that Netflix is blocked or banned in Indonesia. This is categorically false. Only four countries or territories in the world are currently blocked from accessing Netflix: Those countries are China, Crimea, North Korea, and Syria.

As one of the most heavily populated countries in the world, it would be incredible for Netflix not to be available in Indonesia. Netflix has actually, in fact, pumped a significant amount of capital into developing Netflix content for Indonesia, including training Indonesian scriptwriters in the United States.

So, what exactly is the problem? The problem is that through its cellular provider Telkomsel and internet service provider (ISP) IndiHome, Indonesia’s state-owned Telkom group has blocked access to Netflix from all its internet protocol (IP) addresses. This group constitutes the biggest internet provider in Indonesia.

Telkom’s rationale for the blocking is that Netflix has not complied with a request to remove “problematic content” within 24 hours. This is intended to cover sensitive content such as nudity and violence: While Indonesia is a secular country, it is a Muslim-majority state with a generally conservative approach to content.

Why This Block is Not a Government Ban or Censorship

Commenting on the block that has been in place since 2016, Emma Sri Martini, president director of the Telkomsel mobile operator company, stated last year: “The block on Netflix is under consideration, it’s still being blocked because of concerns about regulation.” During the same interview, she stated that “We have [regulations] on pornography and SARA [tribal affiliations, religion, race, and societal groups]. Meanwhile, [Netflix] uses United States regulations as a point of reference, which are more open.”

To clarify, the decision to block Netflix is a decision of Telkom (and its subsidiaries IndiHome and Telkomsel), NOT censorship from the Indonesian Government, nor is it an act of Netflix. There have been no warnings from the government about Netflix’s content, nor have there been any complaints that have been publicly reported.

To emphasize the point, Netflix is still available in Indonesia via the services of other ISPs.

There is a looming dispute between Netflix and the Indonesian government over Netflix’s non-payment of tax in Indonesia. As Netflix bases its Asia-Pacific operations in Singapore, it does not have a taxable base in Indonesia despite making approximately $77 million in revenue there over the past year. In response, the Government has developed a new ‘digital transactions’ tax to combat this kind of conduct. There is no reason to think, thus far that this dispute is connected to the Telkom decision to restrict Netflix.

How to use a VPN to get around the Netflix block?

If you still wish to stay with a Telkom internet provider, what might you do to reliably access Netflix? There’s a solution to the Netflix block – VPNs. Short for Virtual Private Networks, these programs allow you to use Netflix from anywhere in the world via a private server. This is how VPNs work:

  • You install a VPN service on your computer, device, or router;
  • You connect to a VPN server from your computer, device, or router;
  • This server creates an encrypted and private tunnel covering your internet traffic;
  • Your IP address gets replaced with another one, with the precise address depending on the country that you choose for your IP location;
  • Finally, your internet traffic will appear to originate from that IP address.
  • Through this mechanism, you can mask the location where you are accessing Netflix, from your ISP.

The best VPN services also have special functions that hide the VPN’s presence, so your ISP or other systems don’t detect you’re using one. Remember, once again, not only is it perfectly legal to access Netflix in Indonesia, there are no laws against using a VPN there either (though there are in some other countries).

But Isn’t This a Breach of Netflix Terms of Service?

The answer is no. There are two relevant clauses in the Netflix Terms of Service (‘ToS’) which relate to this point. The first:

“You may view Netflix content primarily within the country in which you have established your account and only in geographic locations where we offer our service and have licensed such content. The content that may be available to watch will vary by geographic location and will change from time to time (ToS 4.3).”

This means that it may be a breach of the Netflix ToS to use a VPN from outside Indonesia to access its Indonesian content. But through premium VPN services such as ExpressVPN you can select an Indonesia-based server for your IP address, in full compliance with the ToS. We have just checked (as of August 2020), several of ExpressVPN’s Indonesia-based servers are allowing access. The other relevant section is:

You also agree not to circumvent, remove, alter, deactivate, degrade or thwart any of the content protections in the Netflix service; use any robot, spider, scraper or other automated means to access the Netflix service… We may terminate or restrict your use of our service if you violate these Terms of Use or are engaged in illegal or fraudulent use of the service (ToS 4.6).

Would using a VPN be an attempt to circumvent content protections under this section? Arguably, it would not. Netflix is perfectly legal in Indonesia and has purchased the rights to screen all its content there. Therefore, attempting to access Indonesian content, in Indonesia, even via a VPN, is not an attempt to circumvent content protection.

Does This Mean Any Old VPN Would Work?

Even though it is not, in itself, a breach of the Netflix ToS to access the site using a VPN, Netflix has a policy of screening for, and blocking VPNs attempting to access its site. Netflix does this as it cannot verify the location of any user using a VPN.

This means that not all VPNs will help you unblock Netflix in Indonesia. Free VPN services exist, but aside from their poor security and data protection protocols, they tend to only have a few servers in each country and the IP addresses of those servers tend to get swiftly banned, without a ready replacement.

By contrast premium, high-quality like ExpressVPN tend to be very reliable at providing access to Indonesian Netflix. If one of the IP addresses is blocked by Netflix, it is usually quickly replaced by the service to allow you continued access.

What About Other Ways Of Hiding My IP Address?

Besides VPN services, there are also other ways in which IP addresses can be obscured. Other common methods include proxy servers and the use of the Tor browser. In our experience, however, proxy servers tend to provide unreliable access to Netflix (due to the banning of IP addresses), and Tor tends to be too slow for a streaming service such as Netflix.

How to Unblock Netflix on IndiHome

To unblock Netflix as an IndiHome customer, we recommend:

1. Choose a high-quality VPN service such as ExpressVPN;

2. Download the VPN onto your computer or device, and consider adding a browser extension;

3. Once the VPN application is opened, choose a server based in Indonesia, and connect to it. The VPN will create an ‘encryption tunnel’ between your real-time location in Indonesia and a new visible IP also located in Indonesia.

4. Go to Netflix, login, and enjoy Netflix’s excellent Indonesian content. Note, if you have not signed up for a Netflix account, you will need to do so before watching anything.

Written by: Stephen Mash

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Software and Systems Assurance Specialist Based in West Sussex, England, Stephen has worked as an information security and safety assurance consultant since 1997, specialising in risk management for high integrity systems. Prior to that, he developed safety-critical software-based systems for the aerospace industry. He transitioned from consultancy into the role of technical copywriter and editor in 2019, writing and reviewing materials on behalf of a broad spectrum of clients.

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