Tuesday, 03 May 2016 12:04

nbn delivers broadband to Macquarie Island Antarctic Division

nbn's radome facility on Macquarie Island nbn's radome facility on Macquarie Island

The national broadband network has now extended its reach to one of Australia’s most remote territories – Macquarie Island, deep in the Southern Ocean and the base for the Australian Antarctic Division.

The recent launch of the nbn’s Sky Muster satellite service has facilitated the delivery of broadband to Macquarie Island following the installation of satellite receivers and spot-beam testing now successfully completed.

Macquarie Island is located roughly halfway between New Zealand and Antarctica and has been part of the Commonwealth of Australia since 1900, and politically part of Tasmania.

The remote island is nearly 2,400 kilometres from nbn headquarters in Sydney and is one of the nbn’s most remote areas of service.

The population of Macquarie Island totals just 40 people, primarily consisting of members of the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) that has had a permanent base on the island since 1948.

The nbn’s Satellite Program Director Matt Dawson says with the arrival of Sky Muster Macquarie Island now has up to 75Mbps of wholesale capacity serving the island.

Dawson says the “ground breaking wholesale speeds” of up to 25Mbps download/5Mbps upload on the Sky Muster service will enable the AAD scientists and researchers to not only work more productively but will also enable them to “stay in touch better with their loved ones back on the mainland with Skype calls and other online communication tools”.

“Indeed you can see the advances made in satellite broadband technology when you look at the size of the Radome covering our nbn satellite dish which protects the dish from the harsh climate on the island, with high winds and snow potentially able to damage the equipment and reduce performance.

“It will be a game-changer for the AAD.”

The scientists and researchers from AAD were using an older satellite broadband service from an international provider with maximum download speeds of just 512Kbps.

Dawson said the nbn satellite equipment was taken down to Macquarie Island by ship with “engineers keen to get the kit installed before the arrival of winter when temperatures often get well below freezing”.


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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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