Ericsson bags long-term NBN satellite work

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Ericsson bags long-term NBN satellite work

Adds $300m LTS bundle to fixed wireless contract.

Telecommunications giant Ericsson will manage the ground systems of NBN Co's upcoming long-term satellite service under a new bundle of work worth over $300 million, added to its 10-year, $1.1 billion contract with the national network builder.

Ericsson had already won a contract to build and manage the fixed wireless component of the NBN's rural and regional deployment in mid-2011. 

Both the wireless and satellite rollouts came under investigation as part a Government-implemented review released in May, which found NBN Co would need to allocate up to $1.4 billion in extra funds to both rollouts after underestimating demand for the services by almost 400,000 users.

The telemetry, tracking and control services for the long-term satellite was awarded to Optus in February this year, but NBN Co had until recently planned to manage the satellite's ground systems in-house.

Last year NBN Co studied the benefits of in-house versus outsourced management and today announced that it would award the functions to Ericsson. 

Ericsson will also migrate the 42,000 users on the oversubscribed interim satellite service to the LTS when it launches. 

The Government was forced to stop taking orders on the ISS last December when it reached capacity, and said in March this year it would spend a further $18.4 million to increase capacity to all users on the satellite service.

NBN Co also announced this month that it would provide a new satellite broadband service to up to 9000 premises in remote areas of Australia for those not covered by the ISS.

NBN Co's two Ka-band long-term satellites are scheduled to launch from orbit next year, and are expected to provide broadband services to around 200,000 premises.

NBN Co chief operating officer Gred Adcock said in a statement that it made financial sense to have one company managing customer appointments, installation visits, service calls, and network performance reporting and maintenance for all NBN users outside the fixed-line footprint.

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