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Thursday, 10 December 2009 08:17

Quigley flags new satellites for NBN

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NBN Co executive chairman, Mike Quigley, has once again raised the possibility of new satellites being launched to deliver the NBN to the last few percent of Australians beyond the reach of either the FTTP or terrestrial wireless networks.

He told the Government's "Realising our broadband future" forum in Sydney today that: "Given the size and demographics of Australia we will need to use satellites to reach the last several percent of the population. This is the only economic way of doing it.

"We believe this will likely be done with a couple of new Ka band Satellites. Current satellite designs are available that can provide capacities of close to 100Gbps. We are still doing the traffic dimensioning and costing on the fibre, wireless and satellite solutions and the outcome of these calculations will inform our choices of where the technology boundaries will lie."

In an earlier briefing Quigley had flagged the possibility of NBN Co commissioning and operating its own satellite and aquiring an orbital location into which to launch it, but when admitted that the NBN Co owning its own satellite was not a decision that would be taken lightly, saying..."There are long lead times and big costs associated with satellite services...Three years lead time and somewhere between half a billion and 800 million [dollars] in terms of putting a platform up."

However one Australian company stands ready to provide such satellites. NewSat with its Jabiru project, announced in 2007 and now well behind its initial schedule but nevertheless still very much alive, according to the latest information form NewSat.

In its AGM presentation last month the company said: "Jabiru will unlock bandwidth capacity and satellite coverage that is unavailable today. It will provide our clients with access to greater Ka, C and possibly Ku band coverage. Jabiru will become a wholesaler of satellite transponder capacity...We are delighted to advise, that the current programme to reach these goals is progressing and is on target to be a commercial reality in the not too distant future."

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