NBN Co hands satellite deals to Optus, Thaicom

Dylan Bushell-Embling
09 May 2011

Australia's NBN Co has awarded A$300 million ($279.3 million) worth of satellite deals to SingTel's Australian subsidiary, Optus, and Thaicom's IPSTAR Australia.

NBN Co on Friday announced it plans to start offering interim satellite broadband services from July 2011.

The interim wholesale solution will allow retailers to offer services with peak download speeds of 6Mbps. This will be replaced with 12Mbps offerings once NBN Co launches its two satellites in 2015.

The state-owned company set up to conduct the National Broadband Network rollout said it had commissioned Optus to provide managed services and some capacity in a five-year deal worth A$200 million.

Optus will manage the satellite project and has commissioned Gilat to deploy VSAT equipment at gateways and end-user premises.

Gilat, an Israeli-based satellite specialist, said its agreement with Optus covers an initial 11 hubs and 20,000 VSATs, expandable to up to 48,000 VSATs. The deal is worth up to $120 million.

NBN Co has also handed Thaicom's IPSTAR Australia an A$100 million deal to provide capacity on the Thaicom 4 satellite.

Announcing the deal, Thaicom CEO Arak Cholatanon said the project “demonstrates what can be achieved in Asia Pacific when governments proactively address rural and remote users' needs.”

The NBN plan calls for wireless and satellite technologies to be used to connect the 7% of Australian homes not scheduled to be passed by the main fiber network.

NBN Co said its fixed wireless service is scheduled to become available in mid-2012, and that the company is concluding negotiations over the vendor contracts.

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