NBN Co selects ViaSat to supply ground equipment for satellite network
NBN Long Term Satellite Service set to deliver faster, higher capacity broadband to rural and remote Australians
Rural and remote communities are a step closer to receiving fast and affordable broadband with the announcement today of an initial $280 million investment to provide ground equipment for the National Broadband Network's Long Term Satellite Service.
NBN Co has signed a contract with ViaSat Inc for the manufacture and supply of communications equipment that will be designed to enable delivery of fast broadband internet to families and businesses over the NBN in the most isolated parts of the continent.
The equipment includes the large satellite dishes that will be located at NBN Co's 10 ground stations to send broadband signals to NBN Co's two new satellites for distribution to homes, farms and businesses; household satellite dishes and other receiving and transmitting equipment; and technology to be installed in NBN Co's data centres to manage the integration of the satellite service with the rest of the NBN network.
The contract was subject to a comprehensive, two-year procurement process undertaken by NBN Co and is part of a total investment of around $2 billion in the Long Term Satellite Service. When NBN Co's two satellites are launched (scheduled for 2015), it is expected that up to 200,000 homes and businesses in the remotest regions will have access to around double the broadband speeds they can generally access today.
The contract with ViaSat is expected to lead to the creation of more than 300 Australian jobs including a workforce to install small satellite transmission equipment at homes and businesses, as well as IT workers to manage the project.
NBN Co's Chief Executive Officer Mike Quigley said: "The NBN will ensure everyone in Australia can have access to fast and affordable broadband. ViaSat's role in providing ground equipment to support the Long Term Satellite Service will help bridge the digital divide between urban and regional communities. It will be designed to ensure those who live in the most geographically isolated parts of the country are able to take advantage of the opportunities that the digital economy enables."
ViaSat Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mark Dankberg said: "Satellite broadband is essential to completing the NBN and bringing this important infrastructure to all Australians - no matter where they live. We're very proud to play a part in this important nation-building project and to be part of helping to deliver the Long Term Satellite Service to areas that are out of the reach of the fibre and fixed wireless networks."
The contract announced today is the second of three major tenders to be awarded as part of the Long Term Satellite Service. In February, NBN Co awarded a $620m contract to Space Systems/Loral to build two leading edge Ka-band broadband satellites plus associated telemetry, tracking and command systems. A contract for the launch of the satellites into space will be awarded at a later date.
The Long Term Satellite Service is being designed to deliver double the wholesale speed and up to 10 times the capacity per end user of the Interim Satellite Service. When launched in 2015, the Long Term Satellite Service is expected to provide retail service providers with initial peak speeds of 12 megabits per second download and 1 megabits per second upload* at the wholesale level for the same wholesale access price as similar fibre services. Until then, NBN Co will continue to operate its Interim Satellite Service which provides wholesale download speeds of up to 6Mbps* to retail service providers. There are already around 10,000 homes and businesses connected to the Interim Satellite Service.
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* NBN Co is designing the NBN to be capable of delivering these speeds to NBN Co's wholesale customers (ISPs). Speeds actually achieved by retail customers (end users) will depend on a number of factors including the quality of their equipment and in-premises connection, the broadband plans offered by their ISP and how their ISP designs its network to cater for multiple end users.
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Notes to Editors
- NBN Co's Long Term Satellite Service (LTSS) is being designed to provide high-speed broadband coverage to up to 200,000 premises outside the reach of the NBN's fibre optic and fixed-wireless services, including outback areas and Australia's external territories such as Norfolk Island, Christmas Island, Macquarie Island and the Cocos Islands.
- NBN Co is building 10 satellite ground stations and plans to install two 13.5 metre ViaSat satellite antennas at each facility. Three locations have been identified to date: Wolumla near Merimbula on the NSW Far South Coast, Bourke in north-western NSW; and Geeveston in Tasmania.
- The LTSS is designed to provide retail service providers with a download speed of up to 12Mbps* at the wholesale level. This is the same basic wholesale speed and AVC access price ($24 per month) that is being offered across the fibre and wireless networks.
- Services provided over NBN Co's wholesale high-speed broadband network will be available to internet service providers on non-discriminatory terms. Service providers are expected to offer a range of plans and packages to consumers and businesses.
- ViaSat has been designing, building and supporting satellite ground systems for the past 20 years and currently has over 400,000 satellite broadband users in the US. The company has been operating in Australia for 10 years and has had an office in Sydney since 1997 and an office in Canberra since 2006.
- The full eligibility criteria for NBN Co's Interim Satellite Service can be found on the NBN Co website www.nbnco.com.au/satellite or by calling 1800 881 816.
About NBN Co
NBN Co is a government business enterprise formed in 2009 to design, build and operate the national broadband network (NBN). The aim of the NBN is to enable high-speed broadband to be delivered to all Australian households, businesses and enterprises through a combination of fibre to the premise, fixed wireless and satellite. NBN Co is operating a wholesale-only, open-access network, and making its wholesale services available to retail service providers on non-discriminatory terms. This is expected to facilitate further development of competition in the retail telecommunication market. For more information, please visit: www.nbnco.com.au
ViaSat Inc is a high technology digital communications company based in Carlsbad, California, USA. Founded in 1986 the company was originally a research and development business focused on producing advanced products for government and military customers. Since then the company has grown organically and through acquisition to become a vertically integrated organisation strategically targeting satellite broadband communications. Further evidence of following this path of vertical integration include the acquisition of the satellite broadband Internet Service Provider (ISP) Wild Blue and the launch of the ViaSat branded ISP service via their new high throughput Ka-band satellite ViaSat-1. For more information, please visit: www.viasat.com.