The Federal Government’s National Broadband Network (NBN) has overlooked the importance of mobile broadband services in rural Australia, according to satellite service telco, Pivotel.
Globalstar has launch its first six second generation low earth orbit (LEO) satellite to boost mobile data transfer on its network as part of its $1 billion plan to send 24 new satellites into space.
Pivotel, a Globalstar telco partner of seven years, is looking to invest $20 million to upgrade its ground stations to facilitate increased data speeds.
“My view is the NBN is a great concept but to think it is all about fixed services is a fallacy,” Pivotel managing director, Peter Bolger, said.
“People want to get high-speed data wherever they go so you really have to look a providing high-speed data services everywhere across the country using various technologies.”
He said what the NBN Co is offering is more focused on broadband for the home.
NBN Co is using satellite to service rural areas where its fibre network will not reach. With NBN Co planning to use geostationary satellites it means NBN will offer high-latency mobile broadband services, Bolger claims.
Geostationary satellites move with the Earth’s rotation and are typically located around 35,000km from the planet’s surface. The distance means a very long round trip for radio signals, creating delays.
“Mobile data services won’t work very well on high-latency or high-delay networks and that is unfortunately what the NBN will be,” Bolger said. “Many computer applications don’t perform very well with delays.”
LEO satellites, located about 1000km above the planet, need to be in a cluster to work effectively but provides lower latency transmissions.
According to Bolger, the NBN is looking to the big ISPs such as Optus and Telstra to provide mobile broadband service through their 3G networks and that is not good enough.
Smaller niche providers like Pivotel have a big part to play in delivering services to rural areas but they are not getting enough support from the Government.
“But that covers just over 20 per cent of the Australian landmass so what you have is nearly 80 per cent that will not have mobile data services provided by mobile carriers or by the NBN,” he said. “So it falls back to services companies like us provide.”
“The focus has always been on the big carriers and on big projects like the NBN whereas I think a lot of valuable services and innovative services come from much smaller players like us.”