NBN Co have overnight announced the immediate availability of their temporary satellite service which will enable regional Australians to access the Internet via satellite until 2015.
The wholesale service which has been trialed over the past few months will serve approximately 7% of Australians living in outback and rural areas across Australia where NBN Co’s fixed-line service won’t be accessible.
It will run with ”limited capacity” from July until October, after which NBN Co expects to have the ability to connect more than 1000 customers per month.
The interim satellite service will provide access to the Internet with speeds “comparable” to metropolitan broadband – which the NBN Co defines as being a connection with a minimum speed of 512/128 kbps, 3GB per month data allowance, and complete cost of no more than $2500 over three years.
Connection speed during peak times is expected to be around 6Mbps downlink and 1Mbps uplink, with the service expected to be built up to a tipping point in November, when “additional capacity, a wider range of plans and more service providers” will come online.
Bordernet, Clear Networks, Harbour IT and SkyMesh are the four retail providers who will provide the service to Australians from today, with Reachnet and Activ8me to bump the number up to six by the mid-July.
If living in an eligible area (which can be checked on the NBN Co website or by calling 1800 881 816 during business hours), NBN Co will also install and provide the equipment required for the satellite service free of charge, although home owners will be responsible themselves for the disposal of any old equipment or pay NBN Co to do so.
According to NBN Co Chief Executive Officer Mike Quigley, early trials have met with “very positive responses”, with the service offering a “whole new experience” for those living in remote Australia.
“The retail service providers running the trial Interim Satellite Service with some of their existing customers have reported some very positive responses. For those eligible people on copperbased dial-up services, the Interim Satellite Service will be a whole new experience,” he said in a statement this morning.
“I look forward to seeing more people in rural and remote Australia using the National Broadband Network to gain improved access to education, health, business and government services.”
The interim service will end in 2015, when NBN Co expect their own two high-capacity satellites will be online providing even faster connections of almost double that of the interim service, up to 12Mbps downlink.