NBN Co has selected commercial broadband satellite manufacturer, Space Systems/Loral, to construct two next-generation Ka-band satellites.
The move will mean that the most remote communities in Australia will have high-speed Internet delivered to them.
Penned for a launch in 2015, the satellites are expected to provide high-speed broadband coverage to areas designated outside the reach of the NBN’s fibre optic and fixed-wireless services, estimated to be around three percent of premises.
This includes outback areas and external territories such as Norfolk Island, Christmas Island, Macquarie Island and the Cocos Islands.
According to Space Systems/Loral president, John Celli, the company will also supply associated telemetry, tracking and command systems for the satellite service.
“NBN Co and Space Systems/Loral share a commitment to excellent performance and the highest quality service,” he said.
“We’re delighted to play a part in helping to deliver much-needed high-speed broadband services to communities in regional and remote areas.”
The $620 million contract is the result of a two year procurement process by NBN Co and forms a part of the $2 billion total investment connected to the delivery of the NBN Long Term Satellite Service.
The next 41 months will initially bring forth the satellites and ground based control systems, while two satellite launches planned for early 2015 and the second half of 2015 respectively.
NBN Co CEO, Mike Quigley, highlights that the satellites have been designed for initial peak speeds of 12/1 Mbps at the “wholesale level” and the “same wholesale access price” as comparable fibre services.
“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,” he said.
As the NBN has been positioned to prove “an open access network,” one that is expected to create competition amongst retail service providers on a non-discriminatory basis, Quigley expects the initiative to lead to “lower prices and innovation for consumers,” including for customers in geographically isolated areas.