Six second generation satellites set to secure local telecommunications future

Rural Australia to benefit from 3G coverage, faster internet speeds
  • Lisa Banks (Computerworld)
  • 03 November, 2010 13:17

The launch of six second generation satellites in Kazakhstan is set to boost the Australian telecommunications industry and echo the NBN Co’s recent announcement that it will spend up to $1 billion on developing two KA band satellites.

The deployment, completed by Globalstar in conjunction with its Australian partner Pivotel, comes after four years of planning and an investment of $1 billion.

Pivotel’s managing director, Peter Bolger, said the development will allow 3G coverage to penetrate rural Australia.

“This technological development is an amazing leap forward in satellite communication for all Australians,” he said in a statement. “We will see an exciting array of new devices and 3G like mobile data services become available right across the country.”

With a further three satellite launches scheduled to take place in 2011, Globalstar said Australians should start to experience their full potential by 2013.

With the first launch being hailed a success, Globalstar now hopes to undertake a $20 million upgrade to its Australian facilities, with Bolger saying government backing will be vital to any future success in the satellite industry.

“It is essential that there is an open and equitable telecommunications environment that encourages and supports investments in new infrastructure to deliver services into the vast under- served areas of the country, “he said.

The satellites have a 15 year design life and speeds of up to 256 kilobits per second (kbps), with the launch occurring despite recent claims from NBN Co that the telecommunications industry doesn’t have the capacity needed to maintain today’s satellite services over Australia.

NBN Co chief executive, Mike Quigley, said any existing satellites used in rolling out the national broadband network would need to be running at speeds of 12 megabits per second, and “do a lot of bandwidth”.