Satellites to deliver high speed broadband to the regions
WED 08 FEBRUARY 2012
Prime Minister, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Minister for Regional Australia
Australians in rural and remote areas are a step closer to fast and affordable broadband services with the announcement today of a $620 million agreement to design and build two satellites to deliver high speed broadband.
The two satellites will deliver, along with the fixed wireless and fibre networks of the National Broadband Network (NBN), universal broadband coverage across the entire Australian continent, and its external territories for the first time.
This will ensure high speed broadband is delivered to Australia’s remotest towns, such as Calvert in the Northern Territory and Bandya in Western Australia.
NBN Co has signed a contract with US company Space Systems/Loral for the delivery of the two, next-generation, Ka-band satellites and associated tracking, telemetry and control systems, worth approximately $620 million.
Using these satellites, people in remote communities will be able to consult with medical specialists anywhere in Australia by videolink. Students in the bush will be able to have a dramatically improved education experience by being able to draw upon the latest content-rich, high bandwidth digital resources from anywhere in the world.
This will help bridge the digital divide between urban and regional communities.
The two new satellites will be launched separately in 2015.
In conjunction with the fibre and fixed-wireless networks, the satellites mean that when completed, NBN Co will be able to offer peak speeds of 12 megabit per second download / 1 megabit per second upload, at uniform national wholesale prices, to every home and business in Australia.
This will deliver a step-change in performance for satellite users, both in terms of speed and reliability, compared with existing satellite services.
The existing copper network will continue to be available in the areas outside NBN Co’s fibre footprint. That means the Universal Service Obligation, including the availability of a fixed-line voice service, will continue to be provided.
The contract to build the satellites follows a comprehensive, two-year procurement process undertaken by NBN Co.
The contract is part of a total investment of approximately $2 billion over 15 years that is required to deliver the NBN Long Term Satellite Service. Other agreements will cover the ground segment, end-user equipment and the launch vehicles.
The Long-Term Satellite Service will build on the Interim Satellite Service, which was launched on 1 July, 2011, and is today providing access to enhanced broadband for Australians in rural and remote areas.
Further information is available on the NBN Co website at http://www.nbnco.com.au