NBN’s Gary McLaren, Liberal candidate for the seat of Bass Brian Paynter, Thorpdale resident Kim Styles, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Member for McMillan Russell Broadbent at the funding announcement for an NBN Satellite that will provide remote and regional areas with access to faster broadband.
RURAL and remote townships in South Gippsland and Bass Coast will have greater access to fast broadband when a satellite is launched and operational by late 2015.
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull made a flying visit to Thorpdale last week to announce, with his federal colleague Russell Broadbent, funding of $34 million to a NBN Interim Satellite Service (ISS).
The money will be used to expand capacity on satellites and subsidise extra services.
Mr Broadbent said the extra federal funding would provide new satellite services for up to 9,000 additional households, farms and small businesses across Australia.
“As it is, we have 401 constituents in this electorate who are accessing the ISS, but many others who have been effectively locked out,” Mr Broadbent said.
“Rural communities deserve better. We cannot be left in the slow lane of the communications superhighway. Sadly even those with access to the ISS have experienced poor performance.”
One resident to welcome the announcement in Thorpdale was Kim Styles.
“I don’t have any broadband at all,” she told Mr Turnbull and Mr Broadbent.
“We’re only about seven kilometres from the exchange, but we have absolutely no ADSL services available.
“The topography of the area means we have no 3G or 4G data, VOIP service or wireless connection either. The only other option we had was the ISS, but because registration was closed we couldn’t access it.”
The National Broadband Network Interim Satellite Service (ISS), created at an initial cost of $351 million, has become congested with some of the 44,000 premises on the service experiencing little better than dial-up speeds during peak periods.
The ISS has also been unable to add new customers because of limited demand.
“As announced today, there will be $18.4 million worth of additional capacity for the 44,000 existing users of the ISS,” Mr Broadbent said.
“Each user will receive around a third more capacity, which will enable them to carry out the kinds of tasks we all rely on in this modern world.
“In addition, the NBN Co has agreed to establish a subsidy scheme to allow up to 9,000 homes, farms and small businesses unable to access the ISS to access commercial satellite services.”
Similar to the Australian Broadband Guarantee, the new scheme will subsidise the cost of in-premises equipment and its installation.
Retail service providers will set the price of the broadband packages available to consumers.
The ISS was put in place to manage demand for broadband services in remote areas ahead of the launch of the NBN Co’s Long Term Satellite Service (LTSS).
The first of two Ka-Band satellites that the NBN Co will use for the LTSS is expected to be operational in the second half of 2015.
The NBN Co is conducting a strategic review into the fixed wireless and satellite programs which will be publicly released later this month.