Home Telecoms & NBN Telstra, O3b partner on satellite broadband for Newcrest goldmine

Telstra, O3b partner on satellite broadband for Newcrest goldmine

Telstra has secured a multi-year contract to provide high-speed broadband services via satellite to Newcrest Mining’s Lihir gold mine in Papua New Guinea.

Under the contract, Telstra and satellite services provider O3b Networks have partnered to deliver O3b’s high-speed broadband through its new 100 megabits per second (Mbps) satellite link to Newcrest's Lihir mine in PNG’s New Ireland Province.

Telstra’s director of global connectivity and network Jim Clarke says under the agreement, Newcrest’s wide area network (WAN) service will be extended by Telstra via a constellation of MEO satellites.

“This new satellite service is an exciting addition to Telstra’s world-class network and will see enhanced connectivity delivered to more remote locations around the world,” Clarke says.

Telstra says the new medium-earth-orbit (MEO) satellite link has increased bandwidth to Lihir by more than 600%.

The Lihir operation was previously subscribed to 6Mbps and 10Mbps geostationary satellite links 36,000 kilometres above the earth’s surface.

And, previous attempts to address the problem through microwave links and submarine fibre optic cable proved unviable, given Lihir is about 200 kilometres from the provincial capital, Kavieng.

“Newcrest is proud to make use of this innovative new service to significantly improve the network experience at Lihir”, said chief information officer Gavin Wood.

“As well as enabling better IT and digital solutions for our operation, the new link will help to make Lihir a better place to work and live for our workforce.

“This new satellite link utilises medium-earth-orbit technology, approximately 8000 kilometres above the earth’s surface and delivers fibre-like bandwidth and speed to remote locations. The speed is similar to that experienced in major centres like Port Moresby.

“Any mining company claiming it wants to be a leader in the application of digital technologies cannot be serious about that without first delivering quality network connections to their sites.”

Executive general manager Cadia and Lihir, Craig Jetson, said the Lihir workforce and community members were already benefitting from the improved technology.

“This new satellite service has provided us with the opportunity to access technologies that are reliant on high bandwidth platforms. This further streamlines our operations, making us more efficient and cost effective.”

O3b Networks chief executive Steve Collar said, “Providing reliable connectivity for remote work sites like mines or oil rigs is no longer a nice to have – it’s operationally essential.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).