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Australian NBN To Spend $876 Million on Two Ka-band Satellites

By | July 15, 2010

      [Satellite TODAY 07-15-10] The Australian National Broadband Network Co. (NBN), a public-private entity created to oversee the construction of Australia’s broadband network, will spend up to $1 billion Australian dollars ($876.5 million) to build and launch two Ka-band satellites, the NBN announced July 14.
          The satellites will deliver broadband services to remote Australian households that are unable to connect to the country’s fiber network, which is under construction. The company said that the two satellites would deliver about 2 percent of the NBN’s total capacity.
          At a press conference, NBN CEO Mike Quigley told reporters that the decision to invest in the two satellites was prompted by a lack of viable services in Australia and that having two satellites would allow the NBN to provide redundancy as well as maximize capacity and speeds. “We will cover the whole country with satellite. … There is simply nowhere near enough capacity in today’s satellite services over Australia to provide the sorts of services we are talking about — that is, close to the wireless service of 12 megabits-per-second at peak. With the new-generation satellites, you can get capacities in the 30s, 40s, even approaching 100 gigabits,” Quigley said.
          NBN also is investigating in technology that would allow premises receiving satellite broadband to automatically switch over coverage between satellites to optimize connection speed and prevent service outages of one of the satellites fail.
          NBN has not disclosed the satellite’s manufacturer or launch supplier. In June, the Australian terrestrial fiber network contract was awarded to Alcatel-Lucent as the main strategic supplier. In May, Hughes Network Systems formed Hughes Network Systems Australia Pty. Ltd. to serve the Ka-band satellite technology and services market in Australia.
          Earlier in July, Australian operator NewSat, announced it could deliver broadband speeds of more than 100 megabits per second to the 7 percent of Australia not covered by the NBN’s fiber network and for an equivalent cost.

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