news Merimbula, on the NSW Far South Coast, is to be the site of the National Broadband Company’s first satellite ground station gateway. This facility will enable NBN’s Long Term Satellite Service (LTSS) to “transmit high-speed internet to homes, farms and businesses in remote parts of Australia,” a media release by NBN Co issued last week said.
The first of ten such satellite facilities, construction is set to begin next year. It is scheduled to start operations in 2015,when NBN Co plans to launch the satellites that will provide high-speed broadband coverage to about three per cent of premises that fall outside the reach of the NBN’s planned fibre optic and fixed-wireless services (till 2015, NBN Co will continue to provide its Interim Satellite Service, which offers slower speeds than its planned own launches, through relying on other companies’ infrastructure).
The National Broadband Network Company (NBN Co) has signed on Space Systems/Loral (SS/L) to build two next-generation Ka-band satellites.
Matt Dawson, NBN Co’s Satellite Project Director, said: “Merimbula was chosen for a number of reasons: The climate is perfect for our needs. It’s also located close to reliable power and other infrastructure including the NBN’s core fibre transit network.” He added that the town would not miss out on the fibre optic broadband. Dawson also remarked that subject to the finalisation of the roll-out plans, “many in the town of Merimbula will receive the fibre optic service before the end of the planned 10-year rollout of the nationwide upgrade to Australia’s communication infrastructure.”
The Mayor of Bega Valley Shire Council, Tony Allen, stated: “NBN Co’s decision to site the satellite ground station gateway at Wolumla is a very positive thing for the Shire.” There would be opportunity for local businesses to benefit from high-speed broadband internet. He also said that when the development application was lodged, NBN Co planned to make more information available about the construction of the site so that community members could comment on and ask questions about the facility during the DA process.
SS/L is a leading manufacturer of commercial broadband satellites, and has produced the largest number of commercial Ka-band satellites globally. It is a subsidiary of Loral Space and Communications, and provides spacecraft for a wide range of services including television and radio distribution, digital audio radio, broadband Internet and mobile communications. Under the terms of the contract, SS/L will also provide associated telemetry, tracking and command systems for NBN Co’s LTSS.
The Long Term Satellite Service (LTSS) is designed to provide a basic download speed of up to 12Mbps at the wholesale level, which is the same basic speed and AVC access price ($24 per month) across fibre, satellite and wireless. The LTSS is part of NBN Co’s plan to build an integrated national network that will utilise fibre, satellite and wireless technologies.
The site for the ground station gateway and six satellite dishes in Wolumla, approximately 15 kilometres north-west of the township of Merimbula, was selected after extensive consultations with the Bega Valley Shire Council. The fall-outs of this high-tech facility are that it will bring economic benefits to the local area during construction and beyond, and employ full-time staff.
Image credit: NBN Co