On the first day of October 2015, one of the most advanced communication satellites the world has ever seen was blasted into orbit, 36,000 kms from Earth. The 6 and a half tonne satellite, named Sky Muster, was sent into space to provide superfast broadband speeds to 400,000 Australians living in rural areas.
The satellite’s launch is just another part of the Government’s plan to rollout the National Broadband Network, connecting 8 million homes and businesses. To make sure no Australian’s are left behind, Sky Muster will service the regional areas which are not able to receive a fibre NBN connection.
People in regional and remote Australia, particularly students, still rely on the internet as much as the rest of us. Unfortunately, they’ve had the disadvantage of slow and unreliable connections in the past. Drop outs and slow connection speeds have just been considered part of living in the outback. Now Sky Muster brings hope for the members of these communities.
Sky Muster is expected to deliver download speeds of 25 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds of 5Mbps which is considered high speed broadband. These speeds should be sufficient for the needs of rural Australia.
NBN™ ran a competition called Shoot for the Stars which allowed 5-12 year old Aussie kids submit their best drawing to represent how the NBN will improve Australia. Hundreds of children entered in hopes of winning the prize: having their artwork displayed on the rocket which would launch the satellite, and the opportunity to name the satellite.
6-year-old student Bailey Brooks from the rural Lilla Creek station won the competition with her drawing of her house with a satellite dish on top: because the NBN will help students like her in remote areas access the internet for school work. With the help of her classmates, Bailey came up with the name Sky Muster for the satellite to describe the way it will “round up” Australians and connect them together.
Some of the remote areas which will benefit from the Sky Muster’s beams include: Cape York in Queensland, Kalgoorlie in Western Australia, Bourke in New South Wales and Tasmania’s Macquarie Island way down south. Overall it covers an impressive range of 7.69 million square kilometres.
The satellite’s launch has been an important first step in bridging the connectivity divide between urban and rural Australia. It aims to have approximately 200,000 homes and businesses serviced with better broadband by mid-2016.
Want to know when the NBN will arrive in your area? Join the NBN waitlist for all NBN updates, or if you’ve already joined, check out iiNet’s coverage map to see if the NBN is available at your address.