Australia Plans NBN Service Launch by End of 2015

[Satellite TODAY Insider 06-07-12] The Australian government’s NBN business will launch fixed and wireless fiber and Ka-band satellite broadband service by the end of 2015, connecting up to 17,000 homes and enterprises in the country’s rural areas, Australian Minister of Communications Stephen Conroy confirmed June 6.

   According to Conroy, 93 percent of NBN customers would receive fiber access to their homes, with the remaining 7 percent relying on a combination of fixed wireless and satellite services.
   “The NBN satellites Loral is building will double the broadband speeds for people living in rural and remote Australia when launched in 2015. They will also offer better speeds and performance than many people in metro areas receive today, at an affordable price,” Conroy said in a statement. “The fixed wireless service is set to give remote areas of Australia access to internet speeds up to 150 times faster than dial-up internet and eight times faster than the current ADSL service.”
   Conroy recently visited Space Systems/Loral’s (SS/L) U.S. satellite manufacturing facility to inspect the two $620 million satellites NBN procured from the company to facilitate the government’s rural connection plan. The NBN satellite plan was awarded to SS/L in February. The satellites are scheduled for separate launches in 2015.
   “The fast, affordable and more reliable broadband these new satellites deliver will lead to improved education and health services for rural and remote Australia, as well as greater opportunities for small businesses and agriculture,” said Conroy.
   NBN CEO Mike Quigley recently announced that about 250 remote schools, 800 health clinics and 200 local government facilities would be able to connect to the NBN through the interim satellite service.
   “NBN’s satellites have been designed to deliver initial peak speeds of 12/1 Mbps at the wholesale level for the same wholesale access price as similar fiber services,” said Quigley. “It will be possible for retail service providers to offer services to homes and businesses in the satellite footprint that are as good or better than the services many city people currently experience.”

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