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NBN Co boosts wholesale data allowances and bush connectivity with new Sky Muster™ Plus

12 November 2018

Email, web surfing and critical software updates will no longer count towards monthly data allowances

Rural and regional Australians on NBN Co’s Sky Muster™ satellite service are set for a broadband data boost after NBN Co today announced new plans that will no longer count the use of essential internet services – including email, general web browsing and critical software updates – towards monthly data allowances.

The new Sky Muster™ Plus product is scheduled to be available next year for eligible users in NBN Co’s satellite network footprint.

This new product will help deliver fast download speeds by providing access to a wholesale 25Mbps product that can now boost above 25Mbps wholesale speed when applications and network support allows.

The new wholesale plans will no longer count the use of monthly data allowance towards essential internet services – like internet banking and email.

This means when a user exhausts their monthly data allowance, wholesale download speeds will not be slowed down for regular web activities like accessing emails or internet banking.

Use of other web traffic, however, including streaming video and online gaming, will continue to be subject to monthly data allowances, with speeds being shaped if data limits are exceeded.

Sky Muster™ Plus is NBN Co’s latest initiative to improve customer experience for regional and rural Australians who are connected to services over the nbn™ access network.

Last year, the company doubled the maximum monthly wholesale data limits on Sky Muster™ satellite services (from 150GB to 300GB per month) and also increased the average peak data allowance that phone and internet providers can offer to users by 50 per cent (from 30GB to 45GB).

NBN Co announced in its recent Corporate Plan an additional $800m to boost capacity on its nbn™ Fixed Wireless network, as well as a new wholesale product to better manage network capacity for users who connect.

NBN Co’s Sky Muster and Fixed Wireless networks, as well as the early prioritisation of the rollout in regional areas, are helping to close the digital divide between the city and the bush. According to research released by NBN Co earlier this year, the nbn™ access network helped create $450m in additional gross domestic product (GDP) in regional Australia in 2017. That figure is forecast to drive an additional $5.3bn in GDP in regional areas by FY21.

The research also forecasts that Australia’s position in terms of internet equality will leap into the top 10 of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) nations – up from the bottom 10 – by the time the nbn™ access network rollout is complete.

NBN Co’s CEO Stephen Rue said:

“The launch of our Sky Muster™ Plus product is another demonstration of our unwavering commitment to regional and rural Australians living in some of the most far-flung regions of our vast outback.

“Our Sky Muster™ satellite service is an essential part of the nbn™ rollout that not only helps to provide homes and businesses with access to fast broadband services, but also the tools to help unlock social and economic prosperity in all our regions.

“We have been listening to feedback from consumers and industry on what we can do to improve customer experience on the nbn™ Sky Muster network. The new Sky Muster™ Plus product is designed to give regional and rural Australians peace of mind knowing that essential internet services, like emailing loved ones or accessing internet banking, should not slow down if their monthly data limit has been exceeded.

“Our team is also continuing to consult with industry on a number of additional wholesale product updates on the Sky Muster™ satellite service, including a regional enterprise service as well as additional applications to enable remote telehealth and distance education.”

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Notes to editor:

  • The new Sky Muster™ Plus product will exist alongside NBN Co’s current Sky Muster™ satellite service offerings, both of which will continue to have in place Fair Use Policies to ensure the finite satellite capacity is responsibly shared among users.
  • Web-based applications that include embedded videos and audio, such as social media platforms, may have audio and videos disabled if a user’s monthly data allowance is exhausted.
  • NBN Co provides wholesale services to phone and internet providers. nbn™ wholesale speed tiers available to providers vary depending on the access technology in a user’s area. A user’s experience, including the speeds actually achieved over the nbn™ broadband access network, depends on the nbn™ access network technology and configuration over which services are delivered to their premises, whether they are using the internet during the busy period (7pm to 11pm), and some factors outside of NBN Co’s control (like their equipment quality, software, chosen broadband plan, signal reception, or how their provider designs its network). Speeds may also be impacted by network congestion on the Fixed Wireless network, including during busy periods. Sky Muster™ satellite users may also experience latency.
  • The Connecting Australia report was commissioned by NBN Co in 2017 through independent research agency AlphaBeta. It combines national census data with an Ipsos survey of 3500 individuals across 1700 postcodes in metropolitan, regional and remote areas, including those connected to the nbn™ access network and those not connected.

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