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The benefits of nbn™ satellite to regional Australia

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With the announcement that Sky Muster™ II will be blasting into space on the 5th of October 2016, now seems like the perfect time to take a look at all the ways the fast and reliable Internet connection of the two nbn™ satellites will benefit regional Australia.

In the past, Australians in regional areas were not able to access the same Internet connection speeds as those in the big cities.

The rollout of the nbn™ is hoped to help bridge the gap by bringing wholesale download speeds of up to 25Mpbs to rural Australia with their two satellites: Sky Muster™ and Sky Muster™ II.

But how will this new fast and reliable connectivity change the lives of people in remote areas?

Education

ed

For kids in the country, the faster speeds of an nbn™ connection mean more than just games and Netflix: it means equal access to education, and receiving the same standard of education as kids in the city. The world is getting more digital, so it makes sense that education is too. Online tools like portals, video chat, email and online education tools are being used increasingly by students to complete their school work. Some stats from nbn™’s Digital Parenting Report showed 49% of students surveyed watched online tutorials for homework and 45% of students collaborated with other students via instant messaging.

For students living deep in the outback hundreds of kilometres from the closest school, education takes place completely online. This type of education is called distance education and is offered to remote or isolated students who would otherwise not have access to schooling. A reliable, fast Internet connection is vital to distance education, as it allows the student to video conference with their teacher and fellow students and access their online education materials.

Health

health

Living in a remote community often means the closest healthcare facilities, particularly specialist facilities, are a fair distance away. Telehealth is offering regional Australia access to healthcare, without having to travel those long distances. Using a reliable Internet connection powered by the nbn™ satellites, patients can access and consult with doctors via video conferences. This gives them immediate access to medical advice, which can be especially helpful when awaiting test results. Telehealth also helps reduce the pressure on the traditional health systems, as patients can be monitored from their home rather than staying in a hospital bed, particularly for conditions where home care is manageable.

Agriculture

kirby-smart-04

Farms in regional Australia are expected to benefit hugely from the nbn™. High quality Internet connectivity means farmers can begin using, or rely more heavily on farming technologies such as remote monitoring, livestock tracking devices, video monitoring and high speed video conferencing. Using video conferencing to communicate with service providers such as vets and agronomists, farmers are able to save time and money. Reliable Internet means Australia will be able to farm smarter and more sustainably, with real time monitoring of everything from soil moisture to stock movements.

The arrival of the nbn™ to regional Australia could pave the way for future farming technologies as well, such as drone technology and automated tractors. Agricultural robotics is a growing market that is expected to be worth $16 billion by the year 2020.

To see where your exact location stands in the nbn™ rollout process, check out the nbn™ Coverage Checker. This will let you pinpoint exactly where sites have been built or are in stages of preparation or construction. Make sure to register your interest on the nbn™ Wait List and check out iiNet’s nbn™ plans to be ready to roll when the nbn™ hits your neighbourhood.

Image credits:

nbn™

45 comments

  1. F Stelmach says:

    Hooray, the country folks are about to get superfast satellite “NBN”, that’s tremendous news for them all, I am sure -I envy them.

    Now if we mere city dwellers in the, seemingly disregarded city areas, like here at Oaklands Park, SA, could get, if not NBN then access to satellite NBN, we might see some benefit from our tax dollars.

    Yes, I know, I am just dreaming, we just get platitudes and long range promises

  2. Cliff says:

    Satellite connection in the outback of N S W is yet to be done and sold to us .. Reports from others Overseas have said that the Satellite connections can be affected by weather conditions yet we are expected to grab this form of N B N with out question and say yes please … So when do we hear about the reception that may be expected and what goes with it .

    • Reece Hatton says:

      Hi Cliff,

      That is correct, occasionally severe adverse weather conditions above your receiver or the base station may cause a loss of connection with the satellite and disconnect your service.

      Anecdotally, as someone who grew up with satellite service in regional WA, I don’t actually recall this being a huge problem and only the most severe storms would render it inoperable (and usually take out the power along with it anyway!). Having said that, this was many years ago and nbn satellite has newer technology to allow it to broadcast a stronger signal through any cloud cover and keep you online, so this should be even less of a problem!

      – Reece

  3. Mike Rule says:

    Hi Cahli,

    I called iiNet today to enquirer about SkyMuster Broadband but was told that iiNet did not offer satellite plans.

    You are also not on the NBN list of SkyMuster providers.

  4. Robert says:

    Hey Cliff,
    I have Sky Muster the original and been using it for a few years also have a FOXTEL satellite. I have only experienced once my service going completely inoperable while usually with moderate to heavy storms the FOXTEL will go out first.
    We have to all understand that yes the ability to have FTTP would be ideal for everyone, however the practicality of this happening is economically unfeasible.
    Having used dial up until late 2010 having access to NBN Satellite changed our worlds dramatically. It meant we were able to use the Internet at home as nothing is supported by the dialup speeds. I don’t even live that regional however with the location of the house there is no mobile tower service being down in a valley and being 8km away from local exchange unavailable for an ADSL service.
    I am completely grateful for having some service than no service and you have to take it into perspective if you want to live regional you have to adapt yourself to the services that are available. I appreciate that the government has provided the option for a satellite service and heavily subsidise it. There other private providers that provide a satellite service and the cost differ quite dramatically.

    So I’ll compare with my NBN satellite service (20Gb) with Telstra’s Broadband Satellite 20GB. Now I know Cliff will say something like Telstra are there to price gouge consumers, unfortunately this is not the case they recoup the operating costs of the service and sometimes make a loss.

    Both have speeds of 6/1
    Install for NBN Satellite – No Cost
    Install for Telstra Satellite $2,500 – $3,000+
    The true cost of the install and the dish is about 4-6k

    Plan Cost
    NBN through iiNet: $40
    Telstra Satellite : $599 (used to be $799)

    24 Month Cost
    IiNet NBN Satellite : $960
    Telstra Satellite 20GB Plan : $16,866 for basic urban install more for regional.

    You have to remember Cliff that Internet is a privilege but not a right it’s not written into our constitution that you must be provided an Internet service like say for example Universal health care. You have to learn to live within your means. If you live in the middle of nowhere you can definitely have NETFLIX but you’ll need to pay to have that privilege. It is people like you who believe that you are entitled to have anything you want no matter what the cost. You need to learn to live within your means and be thankful that these services are being provided and not overlooked, or you’re more than welcome to launch your own satellite at a cost to you of $1.8 Billion, or you do like the majority and say thankyou for not overlooking us.

  5. Lill' Wolff says:

    Well Reece, I beg to differ.
    When we only had satellite TV, the reception was disrupted every time there was rain between us and the satellite.
    It rains a lot here in Tropical Queensland.
    I hope that you are right about the stronger signal, though.
    Cheers

  6. Lill' Wolff says:

    Forgot to ask:
    What will happen to the NBN masts that are serving us now and will we need yet another antenna?
    Cheers

    • Reece Hatton says:

      Hi Lill,

      Due to the new technology on the new Skymuster satellites, the current dishes being used to connect to the interim nbn satellite service will need to be replaced. This will be arranged for you by us at no cost for the equipment or installation when we move you over to the Skymuster service.

      – Reece

  7. Phil says:

    From what I understand, the quota up/down allowance is low gigs. The pricing is high hundreds. Not really anything more than a licence for the private sector to print money, with the cities getting big downloads and cheap pricing at the expense of the country.
    I certainly don’t have $400 a month to have broadband connection. I’ll have to pass.

  8. Dave says:

    I live in the semi rural area of Martin WA 6110 we have been a faithful iinet customer for 11 years now but unfortunately we are let down by the overhead telstra infrastructure that feeds our area we have so many outages ,the last one was 4 weeks we cant run a business like this .Can we access the sat service & what will it cost us for the various plans & will it enable us to get mobile phone coverage ?

    • Reece Hatton says:

      Hi Dave,

      Sorry to hear about the issues with your current service, if our team have exhausted all avenues on stabilising your connection then hopefully the nbn will improve this for you. As nbn is still a couple of years away from being rolled out to your location, we are unsure whether you will receive a Fixed Wireless connection or Satellite connection at this stage. Plan costs will differ depending on the technology available in your area. Please do register your interest at https://www.iinet.net.au/internet-products/broadband/nbn/register/ and we’ll let you know what’s happening as soon as updates arise!

      In regards to your mobile, unfortunately this will not have any bearing on the coverage, as nbn and cellular are 2 different networks with no relation to each other.

      – Reece

  9. I think this is great news. I will now be able to connect to farmers anywhere inA ustralia and in the world.
    John

  10. Stop all this rubbish, I just want to get connected!

  11. Betty says:

    how do we trust your company when our national non-communications company has ALL the regional/remote areas tied up????and we can NOT trust them…I need proof – years of bullying and abuse from our national non-communications company makes me nervous…can we expect BETTER of your company?

  12. Paul Ryan says:

    That’s great news and very timely for our livestock producers and their downstream supply chain partners. The Red Meat Industry is transitioning to a digital value chain starting with the LPA electronic National Vendor Declaration eNVD now approved by SAFEMEAT and ready to be launched by MLA & Aglive in coming weeks.

  13. Richard says:

    With the NBN satellite isn’t there massive problems with latency and in particular with gaming and also do you think that limiting the speed to a maximum of 25mbs for the next 15 years is smart progressive thinking?

  14. Gwen says:

    Hope the satellite coverage reaches burnt Benloch in Victoria. Another fire season is approaching. Dial up at 20kpbs doesn’t work well. Especially as it’s also a mobile phone black spot.

  15. Tom Pearson says:

    This is all well and good and this will improve internet connection for many. What I have a problem with is finding a timeframe when I can expect connection to NBN and how that connection will be made. All I get from any enquiry I make is responded to in a very vague manner and for all intentional purposes I may well have been speaking to a brick wall. Instead of all this gloss, how about some real promises in real time and now.

  16. Yvonne says:

    i have satellite tv, we loose the signal when its raining heavy all the time in winter. so loosing internet would be a problem also i would think and annoying to say the least, especially as these days people load Foxtel and Netflix.

  17. Noel Ellem says:

    I’ll believe it when I see it !!!!!!!

  18. Ken says:

    With the announcement that Sky Muster™ II will be blasting into space on the 5th of October 2016 — I thought it was already up there in the sky. Gee Mr Stelmach sour grapes there. We in the country pay billions in tax. We dont have the flash trains, roads or nothing with our tax dollars. My city friends have unlimited down load for $50 a month even in country towns have it pretty good. All the voting power is in the cities country usually gets nothing. At last we get something a big country yee ha thanks Government, NBN and Westnet from the country. By the way I am already on the 20 gig NBN and Westnet’s been super great to me. I could not ask for a better mob of people that have always helped me any odd time I have rang for assistance. My NBN fluctuates a bit maybe its the weather. Who cares not me its so far in front of dial up its nothing. Also the T company can offer me nothing to the plan I have with Westnet at the moment. Tops Westnet Thanks.

  19. Sue says:

    We can not get broadband and now it looks like we won’t be connected to NBN either. I thought this was meant to be a service to those that can’t get broadband but quite obviously we were told the wrong thing. We’re in Mt George which is in the metropolitan area but in the Adelaide Hills. Very disappointing.

  20. Rob V says:

    Hi Cliff,

    I’m a long term satellite user, recently changed to a fixed wireless service. Originally I was an ABG customer on the IPstar satellite with a smaller 0.8m dish. This service was often affected by heavy storms though usually only for 10-15 minutes at a time. The only exception was one particular Queensland cyclone that affected the provider’s uplink, for hours at a time over 2-3 days.
    When I applied for an interim NBN satellite connection I was issued with a 1.2m dish which solved the weather issues. Unfortunately I was not one of the lucky customers who were assigned bandwidth on the less congested Optus satellite and was once again on IPstar’s infrastructure. In later years it became over subscribed and congestion has slowed the connection considerably during peak hours.
    I live in a fire/flood prone area without mobile phone reception, where the first service to fail is power with telephone landlines soon after (as soon as 10-20 minutes). As long as I can provide electricity (plugpack is 24VDC so batteries can be substituted) I have been able to communicate over the satellite connection. The only drawback in running Skype/VOIP has been the latency in the connection due to the distances involved. I was hoping to upgrade to the Skymuster service, but I am no longer eligible due to the installation of a fixed wireless tower. That does not come as a battery/generator backed up service so I lose that peace of mind.
    Skymuster aims to improve the issues with the existing interim satellite service. It comes with the larger dish making it immune to all but the harshest weather conditions. It’s capacity allows orders of magnitude larger available bandwidth per customer at higher speeds bringing it in line with other connection services. The IPstar/Optus satellites are located over Singapore. Skymuster will be closer, reducing the latency, but will never give comparable response speeds to other services. There will soon be 2 satellites so there will be redundancy in case of failure. All in all it should go a long way to matching the rest of the country’s connectivity, although it does come at a greater running cost to the other NBN services.
    Meanwhile, after waiting 3 months for installation, in my first week on fixed wireless, I have been disconnected for 36 hours due to a Telstra exchange fault hundreds of kms away.

    Rob V

  21. I currently enjoy ADSL2 broadband with 50gb plan & free homephone with free local and national calls, my mobile phone is on a separate prepaid plan . 6 devices are used, but never all at once. I regularly use Netflix through Apple TV. Am currently on the copperwire home phone system. Where can i go when c w. Is phased out.? Have iPhone and iPad and Mac P C. (Old). Is there a good pensioner plan for me ?

  22. Brian Ede says:

    I do not understand why you are talking about this when you do not offer us a way to take advantage of it.
    I can find no iiNet plans for the Skymuster satellite.
    We have been frustrated users of the old satellite for many years, always waiting on the promise of the new.
    We have been told by NBN we are eligible and can transfer but have been loyally waiting for iiNet to put out plans.
    With a business to run we will soon have to ask ourselves if we are just being mugs to keep up our 16 year association.

  23. Alan says:

    I just want to know what NBN will cost?

  24. Alan Nosworthy says:

    Have been grateful for nbn satellite connection for over three years in the wettest part of F.N.Qld speeds may be slow but still worked during cyclone Yasi amongst others. My biggest problem has been premature onsite electronics failure in our climate of 150+ inches of rain yearly and over 6 months of 100% humidity. All such failures were rectified within weeks. Am very optimistic about future upgrades.

  25. Jo says:

    hi Reece,
    I am currently on the old westnet satellite and would like to know when this upgrade is going to be happening and I assume you will be prioritizing those customers who are currently on existing satellite plans.
    I have noticed you are not listed as one of the service providers on the sky muster website, is there a reason for this.

    • Leo Yarnold says:

      Hi Jo,

      Thanks for taking the time to get in touch!

      Existing NBN satellite services will be migrated to the new Sky Muster equipment first, as we want to ensure they have the appropriate upgrades in place to use the new service. This will entail a new dish being installed. Upgrades will be happening over the next several months and we’ll be contacting our customers to advise of this.

      We aren’t listed as a provider for Sky Muster yet, just due to the fact that we haven’t released our plans. Once that is done, you’ll see Westnet/iiNet listed on the NBN website. Keep an eye out on your e-mails for further communications regarding the changeover; if you don’t hear anything, please just sing out and well investigate for you.

      – Leo.

  26. Nellie says:

    For everyone waiting on iiNet to release plans, why not just sign up to another provider. It worked for us. If and when iiNet/westnet release sky muster plans we might change back (chose a plan with no lock in contract), depending on the data. We now have 150gb compared to 10gb.

  27. The AdvisOr says:

    Those in Adelaide metro sick of waiting for the Never Been Network you can choose from two main fixed Wireless providers which can offer similar speeds case depending.

    Nuscope or Unity take your pick.

    As I am 800m the way the crow flies from a govt apartment complex which is part of the St Clair development debacle.

    It is frustrating to report that after years of the NBN being of offer to “green fields” sites NBN co. is still dragging it’s heels on “brown fields” roll out.

    This is because in Conrovian times they never once envisioned such a nationwide rollout and only focused primarily on the eastern seaboard and major cities.

    Usually important electorates of which votes where crucial.

    Then to add insult the rollout progressed from the regional towns inwards.

    Obscure places with barely enough population to warrant such roll outs became super fast guinea pigs whilst the rest of the country languished waiting on fixed wireless and mobile broadband to catch up as technology became better faster and supposedly cheaper.

    Meanwhile pricing of data still remains ridiculous not warranting the super fast speeds which we now see constantly plastered on pointless propaganda.

    5G is now upon us and soon will upset the apple cart plus further developments with the CSIRO’s new fixed wireless point to point backhaul solution which I predicted and told the govt and NBN would happen but hey what do I know?

    I’m just another idiot dumb punter.

    Now as the respective hierarchy prepare to dine on their words I rejoice in the fact that I was right all along and the govt goose egg is all over their face.

    Failure to roll the NBN out properly from the start means that it has now become an expensive dinosaur.

    RF is leading the race on latency if not on Gbps speeds.

    There is no excuse for our internet not being on par with Americas offerings.

    Even via the soon forgotten and barely rolled out cable TV infrastructure.

    Catenaries rolled out across the suburbs only to support the weight of discarded shoes
    in most cases and those with cable watch it get rundown and not even maintained yet still paying top dollar for a shoddy run down service.

    Wether you point the finger at the Telcos or the govt in their haste to make stupid costly decisions with almost no planning or thought process involved.

    Except of course on how to make big bucks and win votes whilst doing the slide of hand with our economy and industry.

    Don’t believe the hype !

    It’s all a load of tripe.

    You pay the bill and feel like a dill.

    And nothing changes for the better.

    Thank you for reading.

  28. Anon says:

    Your not on the NBN sky muster program, nor can you match the fixed NBN plans on satellite
    You are misleading everyone!

    • Leo Yarnold says:

      Hey Anon,

      We’ll have NBN Satellite Sky Muster plans coming soon, so keep an eye on the website!

      – Leo.

  29. Bob says:

    I am already on the NBN sat service and am waiting for the upgrade, will I be notified by email when it is available?

    • Leo Yarnold says:

      Hi Bob,

      Yes, please keep an eye out as the new plans are coming and existing NBN Satellite customers are being upgraded first. We’ll arrange a technician visit to switch you over to the new satellite and the required dish.

      – Leo.

  30. Carl47 says:

    Hey iinet

    You have been saying that its coming soon for some time.

    Could you just give us a time frame,
    2 months, 6 months, 2 years ???

    We could then decide to wait or change provider.

    Carl47

    • Leo Yarnold says:

      Hi Carl,

      The Sky Muster plans aren’t far off. Certainly not years away! We can’t give you an exact timeframe (as these things do change) but we are close.

      – Leo.

  31. Rick G says:

    I am now calling iinet on this either put up or shutup.
    I don’t believe you will ever be on the list of providers. After the TPG takeover you were #3 provider and you didn’t have plans ready for the first satelite. Ha Ha Ha

    • Leo Yarnold says:

      Hey Rick,

      We’ve put up. :)

      New Sky Muster plans are now available, so if you’re keen, why not shoot me a message with your details and we can arrange contact!

      – Leo.

  32. Heather S says:

    Unbelievable that a company as big as TPG/iiNet/Westnet/iHUG (whoever you are now) doesn’t have an infrastructure plan in place to be able to say when upgrades will take place and plans will be released. It worries me to say the least. I currently run on iiNet provided NBN ISS Satellite with download speeds of a massive 0.79mbps and don’t even start me with uploads. We are in regional (though hardly remote) Australia and we run three businesses from our farm and this is absolutely painful. I think our best bet is to move over to one of the SkyMuster services provided by someone else. If I don’t know when you’ll be upgrading us, I don’t know how long to wait, and waiting is what I already do a lot of at these speeds.

  33. Sharyn says:

    We have been with,initially aapt & then taken over by iinet, for many years and loyal customers. My concern & frustration is that we aren’t being given any real answers when we may have the Skymuster satellite, just given a link to the NBN plan of which there is none, and when I’m having several farmers around me having theirs installed with one of the 8 recommended providers. Now iinet do we wait until you can provide us with a plan & possibly miss out all together with the reported 4,000 per month registering for NBN or should we be looking else where? My only hesitation in doing so is the changing of email addresses, but looking at creating a domain is an option to rectify that issue.

    • Leo Yarnold says:

      Hi Sharyn,

      We now have NBN Sky Muster plans available and are ready to go! We’d love to arrange a callback for you from a staff member in order to have a chat about this, so please shoot a message to my e-mail (leo.yarnold@corporate.iinet.net.au) and we’ll make the required arrangements.

      – Leo.

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