Optus has signed a five-year deal with NBN Co to operate two purpose-built satellites to deliver high speed broadband across rural and remote Australia.
The five year contract, with options to extend for up to 15 years, was awarded following a competitive tender, according to NBN Co. Under the contract Optus will provide tracking, telemetry and control services in connection with NBN's Long Term Satellite Service.
The two satellites currently under construction are scheduled to launch in 2015.
Optus currently has five satellites in orbit with another planned for launch in 2014 to provide additional satellite services to its corporate, enterprise and government customers.
The two new *Ka-band NBN Co satellites will be controlled from Optus' satellite ground station facility in Sydney's northern suburb of Belrose.
Ka-band satellites operate at high frequency to support high-bandwidth applications and critical communications networks worldwide.
This new agreement is in addition to Optus' existing relationship with NBN Co, announced in May 2011, under which Optus supplies managed services for NBN Co's Interim Satellite Service. Matt Dawson, Program Director Satellite at NBN Co, said the company was committed to delivering fast broadband to Australians and that it made sense to use modern satellite communications to serve around 200,000 homes, farms and businesses in rural and remote areas, including Australia's overseas territories. "Satellite broadband will help bridge the divide between the city and the bush," he said.
"The two new NBN satellites are designed to deliver a dedicated broadband service for remote parts of the country at speeds people in the city take for granted. "NBN Co's Interim Satellite service reached capacity in December 2013 after 48,000 premises ordered a service.
"To be able to provide fast broadband to rural and remote areas of Australia, the launch of NBN Co's two new dedicated Long Term Satellites is crucial."
NBN Co is building 10 satellite ground stations and plans to install two 13.5 metre ViaSat satellite antennas at eight facilities, as well as four antennas at two of the facilities.
Locations identified include Wolumla near Merimbula NSW, Bourke in north-western NSW and Broken Hill in NSW; Ceduna in South Australia; Geraldton and Geeveston in Tasmania; Waroona, Carnarvon and Kalgoorlie in West Australia and Roma in Queensland.
Paul Sheridan, Vice President of Satellite at Optus said the company was looking forward to working with NBN Co in meeting the significant demand for high speed broadband services in regional and remote Australia.
"Optus is pleased to continue supporting NBN Co through this new agreement which, in addition to the initial contract phase, provides opportunity for extension for up to a total term of 15 years," he said.