NBN boosts bush broadband

NBN rejigs data quotas ahead of commercial launch of services on Sky Muster

NBN satellite ground stations at Wolumla. Image credit: NBN.

NBN satellite ground stations at Wolumla. Image credit: NBN.

NBN has boosted the baseline monthly data available to customers in regional and remote areas who will connect to the National Broadband Network via satellite.

Sky Muster, the first of the two satellites that will comprise NBN's Long-Term Satellite Service, launched earlier this year. NBN's second satellite is expected to launch in Q2 2016.

NBN has been conducting in-orbit testing of the Sky Muster and is shortly to begin business-readiness testing, a process that involves RSPs, said the company’s head of satellite and fixed wireless, Gavin Williams.

NBN today announced that it set the maximum average on-peak data usage for the entry-level plan it wholesales to retail service providers to 30GB, up from the 15GB it had previously envisaged.

“Effectively [it’s] a doubling of peak of download allowance compared to what had previously been envisaged,” Williams said.

Individual end users on that plan will have a maximum on-peak monthly quota of 75GB per month, plus 75GB per month off-peak.

RSPs will be able to retail plans of up to 150GB per month on-peak usage. (NBN defines off-peak as 1am-7am.)

NBN is currently consulting on a fair use policy for the service.

“We found a way to make bigger plans available,” Williams said.

“We’ve determined that with an increase of the fixed and fixed wireless footprint of around about 40,000 services and optimisation of the rest of the environment, we can deliver that doubling of the basic plan for consumers in regional and remote Australia,” Williams said.

In addition to shifting 40,000 more premises onto fixed and fixed wireless connections, NBN looked at how to employ the full capacity on the second, yet-to-be-launched satellite.

Sky Muster is “a game-changer for the bush,” Williams said.

Wholesale speeds of 25/5 megabits will be available on the NBN satellite service, which is around four times faster than the peak theoretical speed of connections on the Interim Satellite Service

The combined system capacity of the two satellites will be 135 gigabits per second (compared to less than 4Gbps on the interim service).

NBN today revealed more details on a proposed education-focussed product launch for the satellite service.

Williams previously foreshadowed the launch of such a product.

NBN today said it was consulting on making available a product for families that have children who rely on distance education as their primary form of schooling.

The product would utilise a second port on satellite-based connections and make a 25/5Mbps connection available for education services, with a quota of 50GB per month per student (up to 150GB for a single household).

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