NBN Co, the company established to implement Australia’s next-generation national broadband network (NBN), plans to use satellite services to cover remote regional areas not due to be passed by the main fiber component.
ViaSat will supply the large satellite dishes that will be located at NBN Co's 10 ground stations to send broadband signals to NBN Co's two new satellites for distribution to homes, farms and businesses.
The satellite company will also provide household satellite dishes and other receiving and transmitting equipment, as well as technology to be installed in NBN Co's data centers to manage the integration of the satellite service with the rest of the NBN network.
NBN Co said it expects the deal to create more than 300 jobs for Australians, including a workforce to install small satellite transmission equipment at homes and businesses as well as IT workers to manage the project.
The contract is subject to a comprehensive, two-year procurement process undertaken by NBN Co, and forms part of a A$2 billion investment in the Long Term Satellite Service (LTSS), which is scheduled for launch in 2015.
The contract with ViaSat is the second of three major tenders to be awarded as part of the LTSS, which is designed to provide a basic download speed of up to 12Mbps at the wholesale level for the same wholesale access price as similar fiber services.
In February, NBN Co awarded a A$620m contract to Space Systems/Loral to build two Ka-band broadband satellites plus associated telemetry, tracking and command systems.
A contract for the launch of the satellites into space will be awarded at a later date, NBN Co added.