NewSat moves to convince gang of three independents on satellite

Satellite telco takes out half page ad to voice concerns and ingratiate itself with the independent MPs negotiating to form a minority government

Satellite telecommunications company NewSat (ASX: NWT) has made the unusual move of taking out a half-page advertisement in the Australian Financial Review to voice its opinion on the National Broadband Network (NBN).

In the advertisement, NewSat CEO, Adrian Ballintine, seeks to inform the gang of three independent MPs that are negotiating to form a minority government with the Liberal and Labor parties on the NBN.

“The battle underway to lead Australia has striking similarities to the battle for broadband in our country. Telstra and Optus are the two major opponents and organisations such as NewSat are the independents,” Ballintine wrote.

“The current National Broadband Network (NBN) has been given licence to dictate on all things broadband but treats independents and their constituents like second class citizens.”

The thinly veiled attack on NBN Co is not the first emanating from the company with Ballintine recently criticising NBN Co’s tender process, which rejected two proposals made by NewSat for the inclusion of its satellite and services for use in the NBN.

The CEO has frequently voiced his views on the NBN, telling Computerworld Australia that the company would be able to deliver broadband speeds of “better than” 100 Mbps to the seven per cent of Australia not covered by the NBN’s fibre network and for an equivalent cost.

In the advertisement Ballintine again makes the case for the company’s Jabiru satellite, which is expected to be online in the last quarter of 2012, and calls on elected representatives to focus on the benefits of a national broadband solution, including possibility of subsidisation for “intellect, applications, solutions, content and speed”.

The advertisement comes just after NBN wholesaler, NBN Co, revealed it is readying the release of interim satellite solutions for rural Australian communities ahead of launching two permanent, Ka-band satellites for the network.

The interim services from NBN Co are unlikely to deliver the 12 megabits per second (Mbps) committed speeds promised under the proposed network, but will improve on the satellite services currently available under the Government’s Australian Broadband Guarantee (ABG) program, which subsidises satellite internet access at speeds between 256 kilobits per second (Kbps) or 1Mbps.

In other satellite news, Optus recently confirmed it will soon launch a premium satellite service, delivering downstream speeds of up to 6 megabits per second (Mbps) and upstream speeds of 1Mbps.

The new service, dubbed Optus Premium Satellite, will boost the telco’s existing broadband services in remote and regional areas to six times the speed available under current offerings subsidised by the ABG.

Meanwhile, Inmarsat will use a constellation of three new 702HP Ka-band satellites to provide mobile broadband data services up to 50Mbps to the energy, government and maritime industries.

However, the company will not be targeting its Inmarsat-5 constellation, which can get the 50Mbps to customer terminals that are 20-60cm in size, at the NBN.

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Tags NBNnbn coFederal Election 2010satelliteNational Broadband Network (NBN)NewSat

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