Vocus brings NBN satellite service to WA miner

Seeks regional partners for similar project deployments

Vocus has rolled out a business satellite service to Western Australia's Northern Minerals using the National Broadband Network (NBN).

The telecommunications provider spent almost a month trialling and deploying the connection for the rural heavy rare earths producer in an effort to boost its connection reliability.

The project saw Vocus and NBN delivering improved video communication and streaming services for Norther Minderals across its Browns Range site.

Vocus said it is now interested in implementing similar projects in the future using partners, according to a spokesman.

"We certainly see a lot of opportunity for working with our regional partners on similar business NBN satellite solutions in the near future," he said.

Deployment of the service took place in November 2019 following trials that took place from mid-October.

Through the Vocus and NBN project, connection reliability improved dramatically, according to Northern Minerals chief operating officer Robin Jones.

“We now have the ability to reliably use video comms and streaming services, and that makes a huge difference in such a remote location. The feedback from our team has been really positive,” said Jones.

“As soon as the new connectivity came online, we saw an immediate increase in morale, with people being able to message, talk and FaceTime with loved ones without the service dropping out.

“It has been valuable working with a partner like Vocus, who really understands connecting remote areas, what’s involved in partnering with the NBN, and the kinds of challenges a business like ours can have.”

Prior to the project, the heavy rare earths producer faced issues with limited and unreliable telecommunications coverage and was not meeting its requirements for high-speed data and voice connectivity as it was based in remote northern WA. 

“There are a lot of challenges with operating such a remote site, so it’s critical we partner with the right organisations who can provide the right solutions,” said Jones.

"Connectivity in the resources sector has become such an important part of how we operate systems, gather data and communicate across sites. It’s also critically important to providing an attractive work environment, lifestyle and ways to ensure the personal health and welfare of our employees," he added.

Vocus CEO of enterprise and government Andrew Wildblood said the NBN roll-out for regional and remote areas was important. 

“Our experience as a network builder and operator in some of Australia’s most isolated places gives us great insight into the challenges involved in migrating networks," he added. "We know how important it is to take the time to understand network and site-specific requirements to ensure a smooth transition."