NBN Co to upgrade satellite service

26 March 2014 | Sophie Donoghue


Australian state-owned broadband wholesaler NBN Co is set to invest A$18.4 million ($16.8 million) to revive its interim satellite service.

The satellite service, which has been branded a “train wreck” by communications minister Malcolm Turnbull, will upgrade its capacity for all users by May this year.

The plans are expected to increase capacity from 30kbps per user to 40kbps.

NBN Co rented satellite capacity to provide coverage to around 250,000 people living in remote areas at a cost of A$352 million ($321.9 million). It was an interim measure intended to last until its own long-term satellite service was up and running.

However, in December last year the service had to stop taking new orders, as the capacity limit had been reached. NBN Co only had enough capacity to provide service to 48,000 users.

NBN Co's long-term satellite service, based on its own satellites, is due to be launched in 2015.

At the same time, NBN Co announced it will implement "a new, stringent fair-use policy to ensure a minority of very heavy users cannot crowd out the majority".

Earlier this month, NBN Co successfully completed a 1Tbps super-channel transmission trial with Coriant, over a 1,066km fibre-optic ring in south east Queensland, Australia.