NBN Co taps Arianespace for two satellite launches worth $300M
The Australian National Broadband Network (NBN) expanded its business partnership with French company Arianespace after signing an agreement worth $300 million to procure and send two Ka-band satellites into space, which are expected to be both operational in 2015. California-based Space Systems/Loral is currently building the Australian satellites which has a design life of 15 years.
The satellite deal, signed in Sydney, Australia, by NBN CEO Mike Quigley and Arianespace CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall, aims to deliver broadband Internet access to approximately 250,000 households, businesses and farms in remote areas, including overseas territories and Christmas, Macquarie and Cocos (Keeling) and Norfolk islands. As NBN CEO Quigley said, the Ka-band satellites hold the key promise of finally bridging the digital divide between cities and remote areas.
“Faster speeds will allow people in regional communities to work from home like they would from the office, access video-based health services and make high-quality video calls to family and friends,” NBN CEO Quigley said. “Just as importantly, the NBN is helping to foster real competition in communications in the bush. That drives affordable prices for consumers. Every broadband provider on the NBN has equal access to the network and NBN Co’s wholesale prices to broadband providers are no different in the city or the bush.”
The two Australian satellites will weigh 6.25 tons, cost $620 million each, and will be linked to ten $180 million Earth stations, each with 13.5m dishes. A national Australian competition will be held for students to give a name for the satellites.