NBN’s second satellite, Sky Muster II, is scheduled to launch into space from the French Guiana Space Centre in South America on October 5.
Sky Muster II – launching one year after the first satellite in October 2015 – is part of NBN’s $1.8 billion project to provide the national broadband network to around 400,000 Australians, mostly in regional and rural areas.
The 6,400kg Sky Muster II will orbit at 36,000 kilometres above the earth and provide extra broadband capacity for distance online education and healthcare services, and let outback farmers run more efficient agribusinesses, NBN said on Monday.
Around 700 Australians will also have images of their faces printed on the nose cone of the rocket carrying the Sky Muster II satellite. In May, NBN asked Australians to submit photographs to be included on a mosaic-style image on the rocket.
Satellite broadband services, provided by Sky Muster, are now being sold by retailers Activ8me, Harbour ISP, and SkyMesh.
Extensive testing and monitoring, including end-user trials, were completed in April. Around 200 homes trialing the service experienced average speeds of 25/5Mbps.
Alicia Garden, CEO of Grain Growers, said in a statement that many regional and rural grain farmers are not able to access internet connectivity that is comparable to their urban counterparts.
“Access to the NBN Sky Muster service signals a potential game changer for grain growers,” said Garden. “It will enhance connectivity standards to improve the efficiency and profitability of Australian farming by changing the way farmers do business – in particular their capacity to collect, analyse and apply agricultural data.”
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