NBN Co is preparing to launch a family of new satellite services that will potentially support burst speeds in excess of the base 25 megabits per second download speed.
The new Sky Muster Plus services will also be more liberal when it comes to data allowances, with NBN Co revealing that it would not count the use of “essential Internet services” towards a monthly downloads cap.
Examples of “essential” services offered by NBN Co included email, Internet banking, web browsing and critical software updates. Streaming video and online gaming are two activities the company said would continue to be shaped if a household’s data quota is exceeded.
Sky Muster Plus has a base wholesale speed of 25Mbps but NBN Co said it would support bursting above that speed “when applications and network support allows”.
NBN Co said the new Sky Muster Plus product will be launched next year.
Last year the company announced it had increased the monthly data usage per household from 150 gigabytes a month to 300GB a month.
“We have been listening to feedback from consumers and industry on what we can do to improve customer experience on the NBN Sky Muster network,” NBN Co CEO Stephen Rue said.
“The new Sky Muster Plus product is designed to give regional and rural Australians peace of mind knowing that essential internet services, like emailing loved ones or accessing internet banking, should not slow down if their monthly data limit has been exceeded.”
“The Sky Muster Plus product will allow families to select from a greater range of broadband plans to meet their individual needs,” said regional services minister Senator Bridget McKenzie.
“This is a very positive step in the right direction to end the ‘data drought’ that has restricted business, education and social development across regional Australia,” said Kristy Sparrow, co-founder of Better Internet for Rural, Regional and Remote Australia (BIRRR).
“We appreciate that NBN and the minister for regional services have listened to us and understood that data allowances on Sky Muster have restricted essential services for regional users and we thank them for listening to our concerns,” Sparrow said.
“Sky Muster Plus will make a significant difference to those who have been battling limited data allowances, especially for the 42 per cent of Sky Muster users who have no other internet option.”
Rue said that NBN Co is also consulting with industry on additional Sky Muster products, “including a regional enterprise service as well as additional applications to enable remote telehealth and distance education.”