There are two phases to the NBN satellite service – and it’s already making a big difference in regional areas
What is satellite broadband?
Satellite broadband is the delivery of broadband data to homes and businesses by satellite.
Satellite broadband is generally used where other broadband access – optic fibre, copper wire DSL or wireless broadband – is not available.
Satellite broadband services offer coverage over large areas. A single satellite can provide coverage for all of Australia and external territories.
Satellite broadband requires a satellite dish and modem to be installed at a home or business, with the dish pointing at the satellite.
When you look at a web page or read an email using a satellite broadband connection, it sends information to the satellite which then retransmits it back to a satellite earth station, which is connected to the internet. The information you want – such as web pages, emails and videos – is sent from the earth station to your computer through the satellite.
How fast is the NBN satellite service?
The NBN interim satellite service offers people peak speeds of 6 megabits per second (Mbps) download/1 Mbps upload.
The long term satellite service will offer broadband speeds up to 25/5 Mbps from the start of operation in 2015.
This means that people living in regional and remote Australia will be able to access significantly faster speeds than what is typically available now through ADSL services.
- See the fixed wireless and satellite speed upgrade announcement: faster broadband for regional and remote Australia
So there are two phases to the NBN satellite rollout?
Yes. NBN Co launched its interim satellite service (ISS) on 1 July 2011 to provide eligible rural and regional Australians with immediate access to better broadband services. As of February 2013, there were more than 23,000 active services.
Thirteen providers (Activ8me, Ant, Bluemaxx, Bordernet, Clear Networks, Harbour ISP, iiNet, Indigo Telecom, IPSTAR Australia, Reachnet, Skymesh, TransACT and Westnet) are now offering ISS services to consumers.
NBN Co manages eligibility for the ISS through a set of business rules, ensuring first priority is given to those who do not have alternative commercial broadband access.
- Check out NBN Co’s blog post on what an NBN satellite installation looks like
The NBN long term satellite service will be available in 2015 when NBN Co launches two next-generation Ka-band satellites. These satellites will be built to provide high-speed broadband for Australians, to make leading-edge satellite services available to those outside the fibre or fixed wireless footprints.