NBN Co has selected France-based Arianespace to launch the National Broadband Network’s (NBN’s) satellites into space in a deal worth up to AUD300 million (USD306 million) following a two-year procurement process. Two purpose-built communications satellites are currently under construction by Space Systems/Loral, and are scheduled to go into operation during 2015.
The development comes in the wake of the announcement last month that NBN Co – the company overseeing the construction and management of the NBN – was planning to further increase downlink speeds available to remote and rural locations in Australia. The company confirmed in February 2013 that broadband speeds offered over the NBN’s fixed-wireless and satellite infrastructure would be doubled, with more than half a million premises expected to be able to access speeds of up to 25Mbps; upload rates too are set to increase, rising to up to 5Mbps. In terms of satellite connectivity, while the Interim Satellite Service provides access at up to 6Mbps/1Mbps down/up, when the Long Term Satellite Service launches in 2015 it will boost maximum rates to 25Mbps/5Mbps.
As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the rollout of the fixed-wireless and Long Term Satellite services are expected to cover the roughly 7% of the population that will not be reached by the fibre-optic network deployment.