NBN Co has officially announced Optus and Ipstar as interim satellite service providers in regional Australia as part of the National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout.
The contracts with Optus and IPStar are worth $200 million and $100 million, respectively.
News outlets had reported on the satellite deals with NBN Co earlier this week but Communications Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, confirmed the news today. Optus will be supplying managed satellite services and satellite capacity while IPStar was signed for additional capacity.
The satellite services will replace the Australian Broadband Guarantee (ABG) project which provided subsidies to participating ISPs providing broadband services to blackspot regions. Existing customers of the ABG will not be affected.
NBN Co’s interim satellite service will commence in July and ensure people that need broadband most will be connected first.
The company expects 300 customers to be connected per month from July to November. The number is predicted to jump to 1000 connections per month from then on.
Speeds for the wholesale satellite service are tipped to be 6Mbps for downloads and 1Mbps for uploads.
“The new service represents a substantial improvement in speed and performance over satellite services currently available under the ABG,” Senator Conroy said in a statement.
NBN Co will meet the cost of installation and maintenance of satellite dishes and other terminal equipment.
“[Trials in May] will be used to test the expected customer experience and I welcome the feedback from people and retail service providers surrounding their experience of the new service,” Senator Conroy said.
Optus recently added a new satellite, the Optus 10, to its current fleet.