NBN Co has officially launched its Sky Muster Plus satellite service, which will allow some basic Internet activities to be conducted without eating into a household’s or business’s monthly data allowance.
The service, delivered courtesy of NBN Co’s two satellites Sky Muster and Sky Muster II, does not count static image and text web browsing, “select email” services, and “select PC and smartphone operating system updates” towards a user’s regular data quota, according to NBN Co.
Applications that don’t rely on HTTP/HTTPS for communication, connections involving a VPN, and application, gaming console, and non-OS software updates will still count towards the monthly quota, the company said.
NBN Co said that it may also shape OS updates to wholesale speeds of 256Kbps between 7pm and 11pm.
NBN Co said that when using the new service, customers may “from time-to-time” achieve faster wholesale speeds than the 25/5Mbps on offer from the standard Sky Muster service but cautioned that “this is not guaranteed.”
NBN Co in November first revealed details of Sky Muster Plus.
The first Sky Muster satellite launched in October 2015. Sky Muster II launched in October 2016. The service had rocky beginnings, with NBN Co rolling out dozens of network fixes and optimisations in the wake of its launch.
Earlier this year the Sky Muster service was knocked offline by a dodgy software update.
Sky Muster Plus was made possible by a shift in how NBN Co manages its satellite service. At launch, the satellite service was delivered as a Layer 2 bitstream service, treated in a similar fashion to NBN Co’s fixed line services. However, Sky Muster Plus operates at Layer 3.
NBN Co conducted a trial of the new product from 7 June to 8 August.
“Early insights show that around one third of the total data used in July was unmetered,” said NBN Co CEO Stephen Rue.
“This not only frees up more data for metered activities such as video streaming or accessing cloud storage but will also provide comfort to customers who can continue to access essential internet services such as online banking any time. We know this is particularly important for small businesses, which are critical to local communities.”
NBN Co is expected to launch its Business Satellite Service this year; the company had originally expected the BSS to launch in the first half of 2019. In early 2018 NBN Co awarded Speedcast a 10-year contract for enterprise satellite services.