news Australia’s second largest DSL Internet provider, iiNet has announced it will launch its first National Broadband Network satellite services in the latter part of March and has provided details of its pricing plans, which start at $49.95 per month.
The iiNet NBN satellite plan offers speeds up to six times faster than current satellite plans provide. The plan with 20 GB of data will be available to eligible iiNet and Westnet customers in areas covered by the NBN satellite. The satellite plan with download speeds of 6Mbps and upload speeds of 1Mbps will be available for $49.95 a month, and when bundled with phone services, will cost $39.95 a month. Enquiries related to satellite service eligibility, to registering interest, or information on iiNet’s NBN plans, are available online. The final decision regarding customer eligibility will be made by NBN Co.
In a media release, Michal Malone, CEO iiNet, said: “We’ve been active supporters of the NBN from day one and the introduction of these new satellite services means that those Australians living and working in regional or remote areas can now enjoy the benefits that come with faster and more reliable Internet access from an award-winning service provider.”
Saying that this development emphasised the company’s position as the leading NBN provider in Australia, he reiterated that iiNet which currently serviced more than 9000 satellite customers through its Westnet service, was pleased to be able to offer its expertise to ensure that customer experiences via the NBN would be better than ever.
In July 2011, the National Broadband Network Company started providing access to interim nation-wide satellite services when they signed deals with Optus and IPstar. This service was intended as a transition from the Federal Government’s Broadband Guarantee program, which subsidised bush broadband. The NBN recently signed a contract with Space Systems/Loral to build two next-generation Ka-band satellites at a cost of $620 million. These are to be launched in 2015 to 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, and service outback areas and external territories like Norfolk Island, Christmas Island, Macquarie Island and Cocos Islands.
Although Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy used a nationally broadcast press conference to emphasise that the deal was necessary, it was vigorously censured by the Opposition communication spokesman Malcolm Turnbull, who said that there was enough capacity to be leased from existing satellites and that there was no need to build new ones. Notwithstanding experts’ arguments, on whether it would be cost effective in the long run or not, the fact is that the NBN is committed to bringing broadband connectivity to all of Australia.