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Australia Communications Networking

First of 2 Australian NBN Satellites Launched Successfully 58

New submitter aduxorth writes: Sky Muster, the first of the two satellites that will comprise Australia's NBN's Long-Term Satellite Service, has been successfully launched from Guiana Space Centre in South America. The two geostationary satellites will offer a total capacity of 135 gigabits per second, with 25/5Mbps wholesale speeds available to end users. The second satellite is expected to launch next year. Testing of this satellite will start soon and will continue until services are launched early next year.
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First of 2 Australian NBN Satellites Launched Successfully

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  • to kangaroo farmers in the dust clouds of Kookaburra County, Nullarbor plains.
  • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

    What are the data usage limits on the new service or the cost for that matter?

    Quick check on google turned up this article on gizmodo australia; "Satellite NBN Customers Are Reportedly Getting Shafted On Their Data Caps" http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2015... [gizmodo.com.au]

  • The article seems to have failed to mention the price point for the service. That's a big sticking point with satellite broadband.
    • Sure it is ... but I'm sure there's some sufficiently remote places in Australia who would never get it otherwise. I mean, aren't some of these ranches (or whatever they're called) literally thousands of square miles?

      Nobody is going to run a cable past your house when your 'driveway' takes hours to drive down, and your nearest neighbor is a few hours away.

      So, if your choice is "no internet at all", or "expensive satellite coverage ... which are you going to take?

      The rules are different when you're so far i

      • by jabuzz ( 182671 )

        So the solution to that is to launch at the cost of hundreds of millions of dollars a couple of satellites, which might last 15 years tops. I would have serious doubts that this is cheaper than running some fibre even in the short term let alone the long term.

        • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @11:48AM (#50635939) Homepage

          Well, either the people who did this are complete morons .. or they've worked out their business model and decided it is viable.

          I mean, who is going to string thousands of kilometers of fiber through the outback?

          Me, I'm thinking by the time you build and launch the satellites you've give it some thought, and that random comments on the internet aside, have probably concluded it is worth it ... by whatever metrics you use to make that decision.

          • The internet is smarter than people who do things for a living.
          • by jabuzz ( 182671 )

            What business model would that be? It is Australia's NBN which is a government funded scheme to provide a new national broadband network. Most of the 400,000 premises that the NBN satellite connect will be in remote small towns. Places like Coober Pedy not stations in the middle of nowhere.

            The NBN satellite program is around 1.5 billion USD, that is an awful lot of fibre optic cable, and in 15-20 years time when the satellite packs in will need to be spent again, while the steel armoured fibre will be doin

            • Well, in the mean time, people will be able to have satellite internet now ... as opposed to waiting 15-20 years in the hope that someone eventually strings cable to them.

              I have an aunt and uncle here in North America .. they're on an old fashioned party line and can't get cable ... because they're about 3km past the end of the cabling, and would have to spend HUGE amounts of money to get it ran as far as them. Like pay thousands of dollars for every few hundred feet since the companies don't see it as wo

            • by dbIII ( 701233 )
              The satellite IS for all those people in the middle of nowhere.

              The NBN satellite program is around 1.5 billion USD, that is an awful lot of fibre optic cable

              Not when you are measuring it in tens of thousands of kilometres once you work out the paths.

              • it won't be 10's of thousands, it will be in the hundreds of thousands or more likely a million+ kilometres of cable needed if you actually expect to hook up houses. remember the northern territory alone is around 1.5 million square kilometres and that is not even half of the area you need to cover. There are people in NT where there driveway alone can be 100km, you could be averaging close to a million dollars a house to hook them up to fibre in a lot of areas.
                • by dbIII ( 701233 )
                  Yes but I wanted to avoid someone asking for an exact figure or dismissing me out of hand so I lowballed the number to something that still justifies it.
            • 1.5 billion USD would not even make a dent in the cost of the amount of fibre you would need to cover people in outback Australia. even replacing the satellites every 10 years would likely be a huge saving by comparison.
          • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

            >> I mean, who is going to string thousands of kilometers of fiber through the outback?

            Well there are plenty of big cities on both sides of Australia, and just outback in the middle. I don't know either way but I'd be *really* surprised if there is really no cables running through the outback connecting them (phone, data etc).

            • by Anonymous Coward

              Prepare to be surprised


              People who are not from Australia seem to find it difficult to understand how empty the middle of Australia is. Running thru the Outback(in this case places like the Great Sandy Dessert) is like running cable thru Mars.

              • by jabuzz ( 182671 )

                Really they seemed to manage running a telegraph cable through the middle of Australia in two years ending in August 1872 at at time where there was not even a map of the interior of Australia. I conclude that running some fibre 150 years later is not unreasonable.

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

        • I would have serious doubts that this is cheaper than running some fibre even in the short term let alone the long term.

          You do understand quite how the population of Australia is dispersed right?
          Well let me help you with it. Australia is only a bit smaller than the USA and has less than 1/10th of the population. The population we have is heavily centered around a handfull of major cities on the east, west, and south coast with two minor cities up north. Inland there is nothing. We don't have a Dallas, we don't have a St Louis, no Oklahoma city, or a Denver. What little population we have in the bush is highly decentralised t

        • while I don't agree with much that is being done with the NBN (under this or the previous government). It would be a FUCK load cheaper for the satellite solution than running fibre. I don't think you have any concept of just how sparsely populated most of Australia is, especially in the outback it can be a 100+ km to your neighbour, you have tiny communities of just a handful of people. running fibre to all these places would cost exponentially more than these very overpriced satellites.
        • by dbIII ( 701233 )

          I would have serious doubts that this is cheaper than running some fibre

          The distances are staggering and the population density is low. It would be like running fibre to tiny settlements on the north coast of Alaska for an almost direct comparison.

      • by dbIII ( 701233 )

        So, if your choice is "no internet at all", or "expensive satellite coverage ... which are you going to take?

        There is already expensive satellite coverage - the plan with these two satellites is cheap and much higher capacity than linking to a satellite over Dubai that charges a lot more per kb and could never handle the volume of customers that is planned.
        Some people may notice that the angle to a satellite over Dubai is getting close to the horizon (~20 degrees?) for the east coast of Australia, but most

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        The other reality of course creating and maintaining road roads is hugely more expensive than laying cable, many orders of magnitude greater. So if they are serviced by a public road at a huge loss to the state (considering traffic volumes) than why is a cable strung between poles such a nation bankrupting exercise or is the assessment being based purely upon greed and the desire for unlimited profits. Keep in mind the fibre optic cable is cheaper than laying the equivalent existing copper service over tha

        • by owski ( 222689 )

          So if they are serviced by a public road at a huge loss to the state

          They're not serviced by a public road. You might have a public road (really, a dirt track with the odd and rare sign) and then 20 house each 100 miles away from that road in different directions. So you'd need to string a couple thousand miles of fiber along the "public road", and then another couple thousand miles just to get those 20 houses hooked up. Multiply that a thousand times more and there you go.

          Imagine wiring up a thousand small towns where each town is so spread out you need a thousand miles of

          • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

            Just a blatant liar. Why bother , yeah sure then can transport their animals to market on a dirt track, yeah sure not problems. Do you have any idea at all of the difference between a gravel road and a bitmen paved road (the bitumen water proof coating to extend the life of the compacted road). Clearing, grading, placing gravel and compacting the material all cost more than the final bitumen coating (the problem with the bitumen coating, getting it to location from metropolitan areas), were as the gravel t

    • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

      Price depends on the reseller. Just google NBN satellite price and you'll get a variety of answers. Here's one [skymesh.net.au] for example.

      • by jandrese ( 485 )
        Yep, it's pretty much as expected. AUS$25 for a 4GB data cap, going up to AUS$95 for 40GB, although you have to use more than half of that at night.

        It is nice to see that they offer some personal hosting space. And that they're still running it off of the 1998 machine they originally set up for it with the 1GB HDD so they can only give people 25MB of space. You don't see those much anymore.

        No IPv6 support is a bummer too. If you are launching a bird in 2015, the service should support IPv6.
        • by dbIII ( 701233 )
          That's connecting to the old stuff. The details for the new service are not out yet so when the service starts next year we'll be able to see if it has IPv6 or not - but I'd be astonished if it didn't.
    • It's Australia. Think of the most ridiculous price you can imagine and then double it. You'll be pretty close.

    • by dbIII ( 701233 )
      Because it has not been announced yet. There has only been a mention that there will be a range of prices to discourage a few users hogging all of the bandwidth.
  • This is the beginning of the end.

  • I didn't see one Foster's logo anywhere on the launch vehicle. There not Aussie's then. Probably the launch was from Malaysia.
    • by bug1 ( 96678 )

      'Sky Muster', best name ever, only a child could think up such a creative and succinct name.

Beware of Programmers who carry screwdrivers. -- Leonard Brandwein