Turnbull pours $18.4m into NBN satellite service

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Turnbull pours $18.4m into NBN satellite service

Capacity to be upgraded for existing users.

The Federal Government will spend a further $18.4 million to increase capacity on its interim satellite service, after NBN Co stopped taking orders for the oversubscribed service in January this year.

NBN Co informed its retail service providers in early January that the interim satellite had reached its capacity of 48,000 users in mid December, and as such it had stopped taking orders

At the time NBN Co said it would re-commence registrations and orders for NBN satellite services once its long-term satellite service was launched in 2015. The interim satellite service is based on Optus and IPstar satellites.

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull today revealed NBN Co would upgrade current capacity to all users on the satellite service from 30 kilobits per second to 40 kilobits per second at peak.

He said it would also institute a new policy to ensure a “minority of very heavy users cannot crowd out the majority”.

“The NBN Co trials of these changes demonstrate that even in busy periods families will be able to answer their emails, surf the web, do their banking, see their kids complete their homework," he said.

"It will not be as fast as the speeds promised but never delivered by Labor, but it will be broadband and much higher and certainly not anywhere near the anaemic dial-up speeds delivered at present."

He said NBN Co was also working to give satellite access to around 9000 new customers who had so far not been able to access the service.

At launch, speeds on the interim satellite service were touted to reach 6 megabits per second download and 1 megabit for uploads

Turnbull said at least 5600 users in Western Australia were currently getting speeds equivalent to dial-up.

Such complaints were behind iiNet’s decision to pull its popular 10GB and 20GB NBN interim satellite plans from sale.

The ISP said at the time of its decision last November capacity problems were slowing speeds to almost unusable levels

NBN Co has been contacted for comment.

CEO of peak telecommunications consumer body ACCAN, Teresa Corbin, said the announcement was "very good news" for users who had been "complaining for some time about capacity issues". 

'Some remote consumers have said that the speed has been slow even when it’s not school holidays, making it really hard for people to do schoolwork and conduct business," she said.

"And we’re pleased to hear that NBN Co is still working on connecting 9000 new customers who still don’t have any access."

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