NBN Co to subsidise satellite costs for 9000 users

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NBN Co to subsidise satellite costs for 9000 users

Clogged ISS forces users to commercial scheme.

NBN Co has agreed to subsidise the costs associated with setting up 9000 regional users unable to access the oversubscribed interim satellite service (ISS) with commercial satellite services.

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull last month hinted NBN Co was working to give satellite access to around 9000 new customers who had so far not been able to access the ISS, but declined at the time to give details.

He will announce today that part of a $34 million funding pool targeted at current and potential ISS users will go towards subsidising the costs of in-premises equipment and its installation for 9000 regional users who missed out on accessing the ISS.

NBN Co did not respond to a request for detail on the specifics of the arrangement by the time of publication.

Turnbull today said the eligibility of the 9000 users would be scrutinised.

"These will be people who genuinely have no other access to broadband," he said.

Last month Turnbull announced the Federal Government would spend $18.4 million to increase capacityfor existing users on the ISS.

NBN Co stopped taking orders for the at-capacity service in January, after it reached its upper limit of 48,000 users in mid December.

The $18.4 million will go towards increasing each user’s capacity by a third, from 30 kilobits per second to 40 kilobits per second at peak.

NBN Co will implement new monitoring tools to allow retail service providers to more effectively manage high-end users slowing wider services, which Turnbull also hinted at last month. RSPs will set the price of the services to customers.

The interim satellite service was implemented to meet demand for broadband in regional areas prior to NBN Co’s launch of the long term satellite service in 2015. It is based on bandwidth on satellites purchased from Optus and IPStar for $351 million.

Turnbull also revealed the release of NBN Co’s strategic review into the fixed wireless and satellite programs is scheduled for this month.

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