Optus to handle NBN satellite operations

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Optus to handle NBN satellite operations

Multi-year deal secured.

Optus is set to provide tracking, telemetry and control services for NBN Co's two long-term satellites under an initial five-year agreement.

The telco has today emerged the winner from a 2012 satellite operations services tender, with a deal that could be extended up to 15 years.

No value was put on either the initial term nor the extensions, though iTnews understands the initial term is worth as much as $9 million. Comment is being sought from Optus and NBN Co representatives.

Optus is no stranger to the NBN, with the now-full interim satellite service partially running on capacity from Optus' D-series satellites. Optus landed that deal in May 2011.

The telco said in a statement that it would control NBN Co's two Ka-band satellites from its ground station facility in Belrose in Sydney's north.

NBN Co's long-term satellite service is expected to provide broadband services to around 200,000 "homes, farms and businesses". The long-term satellites are presently under construction and are scheduled for launch in 2015.

"NBN Co's interim satellite service reached capacity in December 2013 after 48,000 premises ordered a service," NBN Co's satellite program director Matt Dawson said in a statement.

"To be able to provide fast broadband to rural and remote areas of Australia, the launch of NBN Co's two new dedicated long term satellites is crucial."

It remains unclear how NBN Co plans to cater for demand for satellite services until then.

NBN Co's satellite services are expected to be reviewed by the Coalition government, and the likes of Optus could benefit further if more capacity is purchased to allow the popular interim satellite service to be resurrected for new sign-ups.

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