Monday, 12 August 2019 10:34

NBN Co launches Sky Muster Plus satellite ‘unmetered data’ wholesale service Featured

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NBN Co has launched its Sky Muster Plus wholesale service which allows homes and small businesses in the NBN satellite footprint to access unmetered data for essential online activities.

NBN Co, the company building Australia’s broadband access network, says three wholesale plans with different metered data allowances will be available to participating retail service providers based on a wholesale speed tier of 25/5 Mbps, and Sky Muster Plus customers will from time-to-time experience wholesale speed bursts above 25/5Mbps, subject to available network capacity.

According to NBN Co, insights from a Sky Muster Plus trial, which ran from 7 June until 8 August, revealed four out of five existing Sky Muster customers reported an improvement in their online experience during the trial, with many reporting the unmetered data was “particularly helpful when it came to managing their overall data usage”.

NBN Co says the ability to stream entertainment with the confidence it will not affect day-to-day activities such as internet banking and email was an important factor for residential customers, and people who use the internet for business or work, whether regularly or from time-to-time, made up two-thirds of the survey sample, and were particularly satisfied with Sky Muster Plus compared to their previous service.

And NBN Co notes that activities including select web browsing, email, and PC and smartphone operating system updates do not count towards the plan’s monthly data allowance – while all other online activities such as video and audio streaming remain “subject to monthly peak and off-peak metered data allowances, with wholesale speeds being slowed if data limits are exceeded”.

First announced in November 2018, Sky Muster Plus was developed in consultation with NBN Co’s industry partners and existing Sky Muster customers, and designed to help meet the broadband needs of regional and remote Australians.

Research released by NBN Co last year forecast the availability of the NBN broadband access network will drive an additional $5.3 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) and help create up to 20,000 additional jobs in regional Australia by 2021.

NBN Co says the research also showed that people living in regional connected areas are 40% more likely than people living in regional non-NBN connected areas to use the internet to “keep in touch with loved ones”.

And by comparison, people living in metropolitan NBN-connected areas are 30% more likely to use their home broadband to socialise compared to people living in metropolitan non-NBN connected areas.

“The NBN access network was designed to help lift the digital capability of Australia, and to champion social and economic progress through connectivity. Our Sky Muster satellite services are a critical part of that, and I’m delighted to officially announce the launch of our new Sky Muster Plus product,” said NBN Co CEO Stephen Rue.

“I’m proud to see the team at NBN Co working together with our key stakeholders and industry partners to continue to ambitiously explore new ways to provide essential broadband services to rural and remote Australians.

“Early insights show that around one third of the total data used in July was unmetered. This not only frees up more data for metered activities such as video streaming or accessing cloud storage but will also provide comfort to customers who can continue to access essential internet services such as online banking any time. We know this is particularly important for small businesses, which are critical to local communities.”

According to NBN Co customers and stakeholder groups who made the switch from Sky Muster to Sky Muster Plus plans during the trial have welcomed the product.

NBN Co cites this comment from Sky Muster Plus user, Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association, Queensland Vice President, Louise Martin: “It is so great to see that Sky Muster Plus delivered on its promise. We often have five teenagers at home over the holidays which means we use more data than usual”.

“It’s comforting to know I can continue running our business without any interruptions, even if we use up our metered data.”

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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).

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