Kacific1 satellite to stream broadband to New Zealanders

Kacific1 satellite to stream broadband to New Zealanders, but too late for the rugby

09 September 2019 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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New Zealand broadband company Gravity Internet is planning to use a new satellite, Kacific1, to offer broadband services to rural areas of the country.

Kacific1 is undergoing final tests and is due to be launched by SpaceX from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in November.

Tim Johnson, CEO of Gravity, told New Zealand media: “Our message to rural and digitally disenfranchised New Zealanders is simple: your wait for faster broadband will soon be over.” Gravity has signed a three-year deal with Kacific, which is a privately owned company registered in Vanuatu and headquartered in Singapore.

Earlier this year Johnson grumbled that it will be cheaper for rural New Zealanders to visit Japan to see the upcoming rugby world cup than to stream matches on the internet.

However, with the cup final due on 2 November, fans won’t be able to use Kacific1 to watch matches this time round. SpaceX has not yet fixed the launch date beyond saying it will be in November on a Falcon 9 rocket.

Kacific1 will provide mobile and broadband services across the Asia-Pacific region, and the footprint (see map) will focus on Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, the  Philippines, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Pacific islands, though not Australia. Earlier this year Kacific signed deals with operators for Tonga and Indonesia

Johnson told media: “Once Kacific1 is launched and commissioned we’ll be able to install a dish, get you connected, and you can start streaming on speeds of up to 50Mbps. You will no longer be in a hold queue waiting for fibre to be rolled out or cell sites to be constructed.”

Christian Patouraux, CEO of Kacific, said: “We are very pleased that Gravity has selected Kacific for its bandwidth retail solution in New Zealand. … With its bandwidth, its simple antenna deployment and its price point, Kacific1 is an ideal for the provision of both remote and rural internet services.”

Gravity is quoting prices and speeds for its current satellite services of NZ$99 (US $64) a month for 10 gigabytes of data and downstream bandwidth of 14Mbps, with upstream at 2Mbps. It has not announced prices for the Kacific service.