NBN Co. today successfully launched its second broadband satellite, Sky Muster™ II into orbit at 7.30am Australian Eastern Daylight Time.
Blasting 36,000kms into space from French Guiana Space Centre in South America, the satellite will play a critical role in providing access to fast broadband for around 400,000 Australian homes and businesses.
Over the coming months it will undergo final technical testing and will soon provide additional data capacity to nbn’s first satellite Sky Muster™ I, which is already servicing a number of NBN customers.
NBN Co. CEO Bill Morrow, said the launch marked an important milestone in delivering the NBN.
“Today’s successful launch of Sky Muster™ II marks the next step in delivering our world-leading satellite broadband service. This service is already helping to improve healthcare outcomes by connecting remote patients to city specialists, delivering access to a new world of educational opportunities for kids in the bush and increasing productivity for local small businesses.
“We are ensuring that no Australian is left behind by providing access to fast broadband for those who need it the most.”
Representing the millions of people who will be connected to the new broadband network, nbn ran a competition offering the chance for Australians to have their face featured on a mosaic-style artwork placed on the nose cone of the rocket, which launched Sky Muster™ II into space.
Sally Coady, from Canowindra in New South Wales was one of the lucky winners. Her mind was sent into an intergalactic spin today as she watched her selfie blast into orbit after the rocket’s successful lift-off.
“Watching the launch was an extremely exciting moment as I believe the satellite will open up so many possibilities for country families like us.
“Knowing that we will soon have our nbn™ Sky Muster service up and running gives me peace of mind as it will allow my children to access online educational resources from home, which will help them to stay competitive with kids in the city,” she said.
Minister for Communications Mitch Fifield and Minister for Regional Communications Fiona Nash welcomed the launch, which is helping to bridge the digital divide between the cities and the country.
“Today’s launch means the satellite and ground station infrastructure is now complete, marking yet another milestone in the Coalition’s commitment to deliver fast, reliable broadband to all Australians, regardless of where they live,” said Minister Fifield.
“Services went live in April this year and already, almost 31,000 homes and businesses are experiencing the benefits of nbn’s world-class satellite broadband.”
The Australian Government has invested $2 billion in two purpose-built broadband satellites and a network of ground stations that make up the Sky Muster service.
The satellites are expected to revolutionise many services that rural Australians rely on, such as distance education for students in remote areas, and will be a game changer for rural business and agriculture.
“As a farmer from rural NSW myself, I know how crucial fast and reliable broadband is for rural, regional and remote Australia,” Minister Nash said.
“The satellites will cover around 400,000 homes and businesses in regional areas, many of which haven’t been able to access high-speed broadband services. This will help businesses set up or expand in rural, regional and remote Australia. I aim to help build the kinds of communities our children and grandchildren either want to stay in or come back to and good internet is a big part of that.”
The satellites offer download speeds of up to 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds of up to 5 Mbps. With a total capacity of 135 Gigabits per second (Gbps), the new satellites are a vast leap forward.
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