NBN Co bolsters satellite service with new deals

Dylan Bushell-Embling
31 Jul 2014

Australia's NBN Co has issued a pair of contracts aimed at bolstering the satellite component of the National Broadband Network.

The state-owned company has expanded its partnership with Ericsson to include operation of the ground component of the upcoming Long Term Satellite Service.

Under the expanded contract, Ericsson will also be responsible for migrating NBN Co's interim satellite users to the LTSS when it launches in late 2015.

The expanded agreement also extends Ericsson's existing fixed wireless managed services agreement to 2018.

The government has commissioned two satellites to cover the 3% of Australian premises outside of the fixed and fixed wireless component of the NBN. These craft are scheduled to be launched this year. In the meantime, broadband services are being provided by the Interim Satellite Service.

NBN Co has meanwhile selected Thaicom subsidiary IPSTAR Australia to be a wholesaler for the new NBN Co Satellite Support (NSS) scheme.

As part of the deal, IPSTAR will work with ISPs to provide satellite broadband services to up to a further 9,000 premises in remote areas ahead of the launch of the LTSS.

NBN Co was forced to stop taking new subscriptions for the ISS in January after it reached its 48,000 subscriber limit. Even prior to this, satellite subscribers had been complaining about congestion and poor internet speeds. The NSS scheme aims to address these shortcomings.

To be eligible to sign up for the NSS scheme, customers must be unable to access a commercial broadband service, be within line of sight of the IPSTAR satellite, and have never been subscribed to a service via the ISS or the earlier Australian Broadband Guarantee (ABG).

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