by Bonnie Gardiner

NBN data boost for rural Australians

Dec 15, 2015

Rural Australians are set to benefit from a national broadband network data boost due to added use of nbn (the company) technologies and satellite technology.

Sky Muster, the second purpose-built nbn satellite, is due to be launched in the second quarter of next year, allowing the nbn to provide wholesale plans with significantly more capacity to regional Australia than originally planned.

The updated strategy will involve rolling out the nbn’s fixed wireless and fixed line broadband to an additional 40,000 rural premises, resulting in more available capacity on the satellite network.

The new plan will allow wholesale data allowances of up to 150GB per month, according to nbn. There are also plans underway for additional allowances for eligible distance education students, with a proposed 50GB per student, to a maximum of three students per location.

Sky Muster was designed to serve more than 400,000 premises in some of the most remote and isolated parts of Australia where residents have no broadband options other than satellite.

nbn said it is planning to utilise the satellite’s unallocated capacity to help ensure people in regional areas have access to high quality service, promising 30 times the capacity of the current Interim Satellite Service (ISS).

The new plans will be offered at a wholesale level to Retail Service Providers (RSPs), with entry-level wholesale plans to offer up to 75GB plans per month during peak periods, while further higher value wholesale options could allow peak usage plans up to 150GB per month.

“Children living in rural and remote locations have long suffered poor access to broadband. The impact on schooling has caused serious concerns amongst users,” said Wendy Hick, federal president of the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association (ICPA).

“Today’s announcement is the result of collaboration between nbn, government and organisations such as ICPA working together to address the challenges presented. This should allow Australian children to keep up to speed with their education, no matter where they live.”

“We have worked hard to deliver vastly improved speeds and data allowances compared to services over the interim service, while ensuring we maintain a good quality experience for all satellite users,” added nbn executive general manager of fixed wireless and satellite products, Gavin Williams.

“The satellite capacity is shared between users and there are limits in place so available capacity is managed carefully and fairly.

“nbn is also ensuring that capacity is allocated for public interest uses like education, with the potential for this approach also to be applied for health and emergency services.”