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Broadband satellite data boost

14 December 2015

nbn finds a way to  make bigger data plans available

Australians in rural and regional areas are set to benefit from some of the world’s best commercial satellite broadband when the nbn launches its revolutionary Sky Muster™ service in the second quarter of next year.

Through an innovative process of network optimisation, nbn has been able to provide wholesale plans with significantly more capacity than originally planned.

The capacity increase has been made possible through a combination of covering premises with other nbn technologies and making more use of the second purpose-built broadband satellite due to be launched next year.

As part of this strategy—budgeted for in the current Corporate Plan—40,000 premises are set to move to the fixed line and fixed wireless footprint, resulting in more available capacity on the satellite network.

The second satellite is also set to play a greater role than originally planned. In effect, nbn will be utilising the unallocated capacity of this satellite to help ensure people in regional areas have access to the best possible service nbn can offer.

nbn will also implement a fair use policy to help protect the quality of service for all end users while offering generous wholesale data allowances.

Sky Muster™ is designed to deliver wholesale speeds of up to 25/5Mbps1 and the optimisation plan now allows wholesale data allowances of up to 150GB per month, with plans underway for additional allowances for distance education students2.

nbn intends to offer these plans at a wholesale level to Retail Service Providers (RSPs) who are expected to launch retail plans at different price points to meet the various needs of their customers. These plans will likely range from relatively low-cost offers for a basic connection, through to plans suitable for heavy data users.

nbn’s entry-level wholesale plans will enable RSPs to offer up to 75GB plans per month during peak periods3. Further higher value wholesale options could allow RSPs to construct peak usage plans up to 150GB per month. As a guide, a 75GB plan could allow more than 7 hours per day4 of standard definition video streaming. These plans would allow a typical user to undertake a wide variety of online activities each day including streaming ABC iView or radio, checking on the weather forecast or stock prices, online banking and downloading movies. 

nbn is also very conscious of the additional requirements of children who rely on satellite for the delivery of distance education programs. Following work with departments of education and key stakeholders, nbn will be consulting with industry on plans to provide a separate 50GB monthly data allowance to eligible distance education students2. Further trials and developments are planned for dedicated education video services over the coming year.

Federal President of the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association (ICPA), Mrs Wendy Hick, said:

“Children living in rural and remote locations have long suffered poor access to broadband. The impact on schooling has caused serious concerns amongst users. Today’s announcement is the result of collaboration between nbn, government and organisations such as ICPA working together to address the challenges presented. This should allow Australian children to keep up to speed with their education, no matter where they live.”

nbn Executive General Manager of Fixed Wireless and Satellite Products, Gavin Williams said:

“The nbn Sky Muster™ Satellite service will be a game changer for rural telecommunications delivering a new generation of satellite broadband to remote and isolated areas of Australia.

“We are freeing up capacity by rolling out more fixed wireless and fixed line broadband and using the unallocated capacity of the second satellite.

“We have worked hard to deliver vastly improved speeds and data allowances compared to services over the interim service, while ensuring we maintain a good quality experience for all satellite users. The satellite capacity is shared between users and there are limits in place so available capacity is managed carefully and fairly.

nbn is also ensuring that capacity is allocated for public interest uses like education, with the potential for this approach also to be applied for health and emergency services.”


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Phone: 02 9927 4200



[1] We’re designing the nbn™ network to provide these speeds to our wholesale customers: telephone and internet service providers.  End-user experience, including the speeds actually achieved over the nbn™ network, depends on the technology over which services are delivered to your premises and some factors outside our control like equipment quality, software, broadband plans and how the end user’s service provider designs its network.

2 Eligibility to be confirmed with the relevant department of education. nbn intends to propose a 50GB allowance per student to a maximum of three students per location.

3 Off peak is 1am to 7am

4 This is a guide only based on estimated data streaming rates for a standard definition video stream such as ABC iView at a typical resolution.

Notes to editors

Note 1: Sky Muster is designed to serve more than 400,000 premises in some of the most remote and isolated parts of Australia and Islands such as Norfolk, Christmas, Cocos and Lord Howe. Many of these Australians have no broadband options other than satellite.

Note 2: The service will have 135Gbps of capacity compared to just 4Gbps on the Interim Satellite Service (ISS), so total Sky Muster™ system capacity is more than 30 times that of the ISS.

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Broadband satellite data boost

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