Optus, a telecommunications company in Australia won a five-year satellite and broadband contract with NBN Co., a corporation owned by the Australian government who is assigned to design, build and operate the National Broadband Network (NBN) in Australia. The said deal between the two Australian companies was announced by NBN Co. on Monday, Feb. 3, 2014. Optus reportedly won the NBN Co. contract after a competitive tender process.
According to NBN Co.'s Web site, Optus will operate their two purpose-built satellites (under construction but will be launched in 2015) for the delivery of high speed broadband with download speeds of up to 25 megabits per second and upload speeds of up to 5Mbps across Australia. Optus will also provide telemetry, tracking and control services with NBN's Long Term Satellite Service. The five-year contract may be extended for up to 15 years.
NBN Co. is owned by the Commonwealth Government Business Enterprise (GBE) and it reports to the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy as well as the
Minister for Finance and Deregulation.
NBN Co.'s Program Director Satellite Matt Dawson commented about Optus' five-year satellite and broadband contract with their company. Dawson said that NBN Co. takes its commitment of delivering fast broadband to Australians very seriously that's why they used modern satellite communications to make sure Australians get access to it including those in the remote areas as well as in the overseas territories of Australia such as Tasmania, the Australian Outback and other islands which include Norfolk Island, Macquarie Island, Lord Howe Island, Cocos and Christmas Island.
NBN Co. also stated in their Web site that they are building 10 satellite ground stations. Aside from that, they are also planning to install two 13.5 metre ViaSat satellite antennas at eight facilities and four antennas at two of the facilities.
Right now, NBN Co. has an Interim Satellite Service which was launched on July 1, 2011 and currently provides broadband services to several areas in Australia. However, it has reached full capacity and registration as well as ordering for a new service under it is not possible anymore. Also, it is only a temporary measure until the Long Term Satellite Service with Optus is launched in 2015.
The cost of Optus' five-year satellite and broadband contract with NBN Co. was not revealed but The Australian reports that NBN Co. has committed to invest as much as $2 billion for its satellite services. U.S. satellite communications company Loral Space and Communications is tasked with building NBN Co.'s satellites.
Check out a picture of the first NBN satellite under construction from Australian politician Malcolm Turnbull's official Twitter account. He is seen wih Loral President John Celli and Paul Fletcher.
With Paul Fletcher and John Celli Pres of LORAL in front of the first NBN satellite under construction. pic.twitter.com/GoOgaL7Iz7
— Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) January 16, 2014