A $500 million satellite which will dramatically improve internet access for people living in remote areas of Australia has been launched into space … and there is speculation that grey nomads could eventually benefit, too.
The National Broadband Network (NBN) says its 6.3 tonne Sky Muster satellite is already unfurling its solar panels and getting ready to take up its ‘orbital slot’ position before it begins rotating around Earth. From the middle of next year, it will be offering users download speeds of 25 megabits per second.
The NBN says the service will eventually cover 400,000 homes ranging from the city fringes to incredibly remote areas, as well as Australia’s offshore territories including Christmas, Cocos, Norfolk and Macquarie islands.
And the Australian Business Spectator reports that there has been some speculation that NBN Co is investigating the possibility of releasing mobile satellite broadband products aimed at connecting ships, aeroplanes … and potentially the ‘legion of grey nomads in their caravans across Australia’.
The publication says that launching these services would see NBN Co enter a space that has so far been the domain of private operators, but one that would provide an avenue for NBN Co to eke out a commercial gain from the most expensive segment of the overall network.
An NBN Co spokesman conceded that there were regular discussions on product types, but that the company would look to stick to its remit of providing broadband services to households.
While vastly improved internet speeds will no doubt be welcomed across the bush, the NBN has warned that download capacity on the network will not be unlimited and heavy users may have to pay more than their city counterparts. There will also be strict download limits.
It said the service was a finite resource and would “be carefully managed to ensure all users in rural and remote Australia get a fair go”.