Satellite broadband services – provided by NBN’s Sky Muster – are now being sold by retailers Activ8me, Harbour ISP, and SkyMesh after a successful trial.
NBN said on Friday that the $1.8 billion satellite, which launched 36,000kms into space last October to provide high speed broadband to rural and regional Australia, as well as 10 ground stations have undergone extensive testing and monitoring including end-user trials.
Around 200 homes in these areas have trialled the service which, on average, have delivered speeds of 25/5Mbps, NBN said.
NBN chief customer officer, John Simon, said there is a now a field force of 600 trained technicians to install satellite services as the company shoots for its goal of connecting 8 million homes and businesses to the NBN by 2020.
“It will take some time to get all eligible premises connected due to the sheer size of our 7.69 million km2 country, so we ask for patience as our teams travel around to install the service,” Simon said.
NBN claimed the service will offer remote households speeds up to four times faster, and three to six times more data than existing consumer satellite services.
Commenting on the launch, Labor shadow minister for communications, Jason Clare, said fortunately Labor signed the contracts for delivery of these satellites before the Liberal government was sworn in.
"Malcolm Turnbull fought tooth and nail against these satellites when in opposition," minister Clare said.
"He called the satellites a 'Rolls-Royce solution' and 'wasteful spending'.
"[The Prime Minister] now calls these satellites a game changer. Labor welcomes the belated support from Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberal Party for the NBN satellite program. As they say, better late than never," he said.
In an NBN-commissioned report, researcher Ovum, said that the Sky Muster service was world-leading for data allowance, download and upload speed and affordability, when compared to 18 satellite services offered by retailers worldwide.
Grain Growers Limited CEO, Alicia Garden said in a statement that farming businesses need fast, reliable internet connectivity to operate to their potential.
“Grain farmers not only rely on the internet for banking and other administrative transactions, they increasingly need connectivity to optimise the actual growing of grain,” Garden said.
“Every day farmers are collecting large volumes of data in regards to crop conditions, input usage and weather. This data guides their decision making from farm practices and ultimately makes their operation more efficient and more profitable.
“However, to get this data from the paddock to the farm office, reliable internet connectivity is required. Disappointingly, up until now, this has not been a reality for many farmers.
“The coming online of Sky Muster promises to change all this by providing farm businesses access to connectivity of a standard and price previously only enjoyed by their urban counterparts,” she said.
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