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NBN Co and Arianespace seal satellite launch contract

04 March 2013

Rockets to propel satellites into orbit in 2015, helping to bring high speed broadband to outback Australia

Australians in rural and remote areas are a step closer to receiving high-speed broadband with the announcement that Arianespace, the European satellite launch company, has been selected to propel Australia's National Broadband Network satellites into space.

The contract, worth up to $300 million, was awarded following a comprehensive two-year procurement process.

The satellites will allow access to fast internet to up to 200,000 homes, farms and businesses in remote parts of the country at speeds people in the city currently take for granted.

NBN Co Chief Executive Officer Mike Quigley said: "The NBN satellite service is key to bridging the divide between the city and the bush. It will give people in the outback, remote regions and Australia's overseas territories access to economic and social opportunities that the rest of us take for granted. For instance, faster speeds will allow people in regional communities to work from home like they would from the office, access video-based health services and make high-quality video calls to family and friends*.

"Just as importantly, the NBN is helping to foster real competition in communications in the bush. That drives affordable prices for consumers. Every broadband provider on the NBN has equal access to the network and NBN Co's wholesale prices to broadband providers are no different in the city or the bush."

According to Jean-Yves Le Gall, Chairman and CEO of Arianespace: "We are proud to be part of Australia's National Broadband Network project that will help deliver much-needed high-speed broadband services to communities in regional and remote areas of this vast island continent. Arianespace has led the launch services industry with many operational firsts and numerous record-setting missions."

Two purpose-built communications satellites, currently under construction in California by Space Systems/Loral, will lift off aboard two 777 tonne Ariane 5 heavy-lift rockets which will deliver the payloads into geostationary orbit to serve Australia.

The two launches from Europe's spaceport in French Guiana, situated on the equator on the North Atlantic coast of South America, are scheduled during 2015.

Today's contract signing follows the recent announcement that NBN Co is planning to boost wholesale internet speeds available to rural and remote Australia.

A higher speed tier is planned to offer wholesale download speeds to broadband providers over satellite and fixed-wireless of up to 25 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 5 Mbps - five times higher than the upload speeds and four times higher than the download speeds available on today's NBN Interim Satellite Service**.

The faster speed tier is planned to be available over the Fixed Wireless network as early as June this year and over the Long Term Satellite service when it launches in 2015.

The National Broadband Network aims to provide access to better communications to every Australian via satellite or fixed-wireless or fibre optic cable.



Rhonda Griffin  

Mobile: 0428 134 401



Press Office
(02) 9213 2320


Notes to Editors

National Broadband Network Satellite and Fixed Wireless services



Wholesale speed tiers

Wholesale Access Price per month

Available from

Interim Satellite

6/1 Mbps



Long Term Satellite

12/1 Mbps




25/5 Mbps



Fixed Wireless

12/1 Mbps




25/5 Mbps


June 2013


About NBN Co's satellite services


  • The Long Term Satellite Service, which will launch in 2015, forms part of NBN Co's plan to deliver high-speed broadband to every Australian home and business by 2021
  • Instead of splitting capacity between a number of other tasks such as satellite telephony and broadcast television, or between a number of countries, the multiple high-capacity beams on NBN Co's two Ka-band broadband satellites will be dedicated to the efficient delivery of high- speed broadband to rural and remote Australia
  • Satellite ground stations across Australia will play a central role in delivering high speed broadband to remote regions. They are planned to be located in NSW (Wolumla, Bourke, Broken Hill), SA (Ceduna), Tasmania (Geeveston), Queensland (Roma) and WA (Kalgoorlie, Geraldton, Carnarvon, and Wagerup)
  • The Satellite and Fixed-Wireless networks will serve communities with low population density where it is impractical or uneconomical to roll out fibre optic cable. NBN Co plans to install fibre in towns of 1000 premises or more, and to some towns with as few as 500 premises where the town is located on an NBN fibre transit link
  • A standard installation of end user network equipment will be free of charge

* End-user experience depends on some factors outside our control, like equipment quality, software, broadband plans and how service providers designs their network.

** NBN Co is designing the NBN to be capable of delivering these speeds to NBN Co's wholesale customers (internet service providers). Speeds achieved and applications received by retail customers will depend on a number of factors including the quality of their equipment and in-premises connection, the broadband plans offered by their service provider and how their service provider designs its network to cater for multiple end users

About Arianespace

Arianespace is the world's leading satellites launch company, providing innovation to its customers since 1980. Backed by 21 shareholders and the European Space Agency, the company offers an international workforce renowned for a culture of commitment and excellence. As of today, 210 Ariane launches, 28 Soyuz launches (3 at the Guiana Space Centre and 25 at Baikonur with Starsem) and the first launch of Vega have been performed. The company has a backlog of 18 Ariane 5, 13 Soyuz and 3 Vega launches, equal to more than three years of business. For more information, please visit:



NBN Co and Arianespace seal satellite launch contract

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