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NBN chief on SkyMuster story so far

In May last year, nbn launched its Sky Muster satellite service. We now have more than 60,000 people across Australia connected to the service and on 28 February 2017, the nbnTM Interim Satellite Service will be switched off.

So if you haven’t yet arranged to transition across to Sky Muster you should do so as soon as possible.

It is fair to say that in regional and remote areas, where there are often no other alternative connections, access to connectivity is critical. To provide wholesale speeds of four to eight times faster than what has previously been available in the satellite market is exceptional. When you combine the speed available and the range of data allowances, users can now choose plans for about the same price they paid for previous satellite service but gain the benefit of much higher speeds as well as four to five times more data.

The fact that we can connect homes around the country through tiny beams transmitted nearly 36,000 kilometres into outer space and back again is, in a word, awesome.

While satellite technology has come a long way, it can be affected by weather and is not immune to the tyranny of distance. That said, we also know that if your service is down, you can’t school your kids, run your farms or do your business online.

We know the Sky Muster journey hasn’t been a smooth one for everyone and has not met your expectations, and indeed ours. The implementation of these custom designed satellites has not been without its challenges and some of you may have experienced this first hand. No other company in the world has embarked on a satellite program connecting as many people as quickly as we have to date, and, while that might be a small consolation for those suffering from unstable internet access, it is a reminder of the sheer size of the job we are undertaking to improve connectivity for all Australians. Of course, with any complex new technology there will always be implementation issues, and I apologise for the time it is taking to fix them.

 

We know the Sky Muster journey hasn’t been a smooth one for everyone and has not met your expectations, and indeed ours.
John Simon, Chief Customer Officer, nbn

We are working day and night to improve the Sky Muster service. We’ve already implemented a series of major software upgrades to improve the network experience and have increased the number of installers on the ground. The early results from these changes are encouraging and show better network stability and a significant lift in connection performance. We believe we are well and truly heading in the right direction but there’s still more work to be done.

All of us at nbn are intent on putting the technical solutions in place to get Sky Muster performing to its full potential and we ask for your understanding as we implement our further fixes. We are confident that, before long, the network will be reliable and delivering state of the art broadband services to regional Australia.

While the engineers are focused on the service quality, we are also working with our retail providers and delivery partners to help further improve the installation process.

While we continue to work on improving the network, our research team is focused on identifying ways to drive further value from this incredible technology. Last year Qantas announced they would be trialling in-air Wi-Fi services on Sky Muster. This aeronautical trial is vitally important for all Australians, as it paves the way for potential mobile satellite solutions for emergency and search and rescue organisations in remote locations across the country.

At the same time, our specialist technology team are also developing business, health and education products for the nbn Sky Muster service. In fact, the trial will play a crucial role in the creation of business products for future release that will benefit remote commercial activities.

While this trial provides ground-breaking opportunities for all of us, providing services to those in regional and remote Australia remains our top priority. One of the key considerations for nbn is that this aeronautical product doesn’t impact the services provided to people on the ground, and we have built a technological solution to ensure ground traffic is always prioritised.

Sky Muster really will open our country up to new and exciting opportunities, including some that may save your life or mine. With your patience and our technical fixes, I believe that soon the people who have Sky Muster will be its best advocates. I assure you, nbn is working to get this right.

John Simon is the Chief Customer Officer at nbn co

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