NBN Co completes build of 10 satellite stations to serve 400,000 Australians

Long Term Satellite Service to deliver speeds of up to 25 Mbps by 2016
Rendered image of Bourke LTSS ground station.

Rendered image of Bourke LTSS ground station.

NBN Co has completed construction work on all 10 of the satellite ground stations which will help deliver services to 400,000 Australia in remote and rural areas.

The services will be delivered via two telecommunications satellites - the first of which is set to be launched from the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana, later this year.

This will be followed by the expected commercial availability of its Long Term Satellite Service (LTSS) in 2016.

The news follows a recent Akamai report which ranked Australian Internet speeds at 44th globally.

The satellite services are designed to bridge the gap between Internet users in the bush and city.

The LTSS will deliver wholesale broadband speeds of up to 25 Mbps download and 5 Mbps upload.

The service will be offered to 400,000 homes and businesses (3 per cent of Australia).

This takes in 1600 public buildings, which includes 1400 schools.

The exact number of premises as well as the regions covered in by LTSS may vary once NBN Co has finalised its construction planning, according to NBN Co.

The satellite ground stations are located in Bourke, Wolumla, Broken Hill, Carnarvon, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, Waroona, Roma, Geeveston and Ceduna.

NBN Co’s satellite architect, Julia Dickinson, said many people in bigger cities take for granted the benefits that fast broadband provides.

“With no access to any other form of commercial broadband service, some rural and regional Australians are still using dial-up Internet – the NBN is designed to provide access to minimum download speeds which could be up to 100 times faster than what they are experiencing now,” she said.

“Not only are those in remote areas physically removed from some essential services such as access to education and health specialists, a slow Internet connection can further disadvantage them from the benefits enjoyed by their inner-city cousins.”

Dickinson said the NBN satellite service would play a critical role in helping Australians to be on a level playing field as everyone in the bush would have access to speeds that are as good as if not better than what many people in the city have today.

"No matter where you live, no home, school or business will be left behind,” she said.

Federal President of the Isolated Children's Parents' Association, Judy Newton, said the completion of the ground stations meant kids in the bush were another step closer to having access to better learning opportunities.

“Country kids are just as intrigued with the world of technology as their urban counterparts and with all distance education schools in Australia now providing lessons over the Internet, it is vital that these children have access to fast broadband," she said.

"They eagerly await the launch of the new NBN satellite services to help them overcome issues such as slow speeds and drop outs, which they struggle with on a daily basis.

To mark the milestone, NBN Co is launching the ‘Shoot for the Stars’ competition to give Aussie school kids aged 5-12 the opportunity to decorate the nose cone of the rocket which will launch the first satellite into space.

The grand prize winner and their school will have the opportunity to name the satellite.

“As the future beneficiaries of fast broadband, we’re encouraging children and their schools to be part of this initiative by asking them to help us name the first satellite and decorate its rocket’s nose cone,” Ms Dickinson said.