The Defence department will pay Optus a further $40 million over the next ten years to keep using the telco's C1 satellite.
Its existing contract with Optus was due to end in 2020 when the satellite went end-of-life, but Optus has agreed to reconfigure the C1 to operate in an "inclined orbit to reduce on‑board fuel usage", thereby extending its end-of-life to 2027.
Optus has provided satellite services to Defence since 2003 when the telco and the agency jointly launched the C1 from French Guiana.
“The extended use of Optus C1 will preserve Australia’s orbital filing precedence and options to place future satellite communications capabilities within the region,” Defence Minister Marise Payne said in a statement.
“The agreement assists Defence and the government to preserve Australia’s right to continue to operate in the radiofrequency spectrum from space until such a time as government elects an alternative course of action."
The $40 million contract cost will cover the preparation of ground infrastructure within Optus facilities in NSW and WA, as well as operating and sustainment costs.