NBN Long Term Satellite: The FACTS

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Everyone in Australia will be able to access some form of NBN – either FIXED, FIXED WIRELESS or LONG TERM SATELLITE (also referred to as LTSS and SkyMuster) so whatever your connection currently is, you will have access to one of these three forms of NBN. If you currently use mobile broadband you will be able to access LTSS but you don’t HAVE to.

NBN maps can be viewed here:  NBN Rollout MAP

It has been claimed that the new NBN satellite service (LTSS) is “custom built, dedicated, a game changer”.  It is designed to provide rural and remote homes and businesses with access to fast broadband including islands such as Cocos Islands, Macquarie Island and Norfolk Island.

The interim satellite (ISS) had approximately 48,000 subscribers – larger-than-planned-for data plans were sold and the satellite became oversubscribed resulting in the FAIR USE POLICY and reduced data and speeds for users.  The LTSS has 30 x the capacity of the ISS.

Confused about what type of satellite service you currently have, check out our Satellite Types document.

  • TIMEFRAME

The first Satellite ~ SkyMuster, was launched on 1st October 2015, and is expected to became operational in April 2016.

To connect to the NBN network, homes and businesses will need to contact an internet service provider and order a suitable plan.  NBN has specified service level targets depending on the location. In most cases a standard installation will occur within 20 business days of an order for the service being placed. In isolated regions on the mainland and in Tasmania, it may be up to 35 days. For really remote areas, NBN has a target of 90 calendar days.

Current ISS users must be transferred to SkyMuster before 28th February 2017, as this service will no longer be operational.

  • ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA  

NBN satellite services are designed to provide internet services to homes and businesses that fall outside of the fixed line and fixed wireless areas in Australia and its external territories.   The new NBN satellite (LTSS/Skymuster) will reach around 240,000 homes and businesses residing in the most isolated parts of Australia, including the outback and remote offshore territories. Homes and businesses must be within the satellite footprint and be subject to on-site validation.

Approximately 400,000 Australians are eligible for the LTSS but NBN are expecting around 240,000 subscribers.

NBN have allowed for additional capacity in case of more subscribers than expected. A second satellite (launched in October 2016) offers future capacity cover.  The new NBN satellite will provide great access to a wider range of users outside the fixed wireless and fibre footprint, and is designed to support higher grade of business services. This will include remote schools and health clinics and those who currently can only access mobile broadband.  Business plans are expected by announced in 2017.

ISS users who are outside of a fixed line or fixed wireless area will be eligible to migrate to a service over the new LTSS, however the switchover to the LTSS is not automatic, you must apply with a provider.  Not all ISS providers are Sky Muster providers.  Households outside of the fixed line and fixed wireless areas, including new users and households provided for under the Australian Broadband Guarantee (ABG), will similarly have access to the LTSS subject to the same timeline and migration planning constraints.

NBN have stated that there WILL be more than one connection available per property – it depends on how many habitable premises you have. NBN statement  “Where required, additional premises can be connected. For example, if you have a homestead and a manager’s premises both habited, both can receive an NBN connection.”

  • DATA & PRICING  

Data Limits are up to individual RSP’s (service providers) in line with nbn fair use policy.  Internet service providers will set the prices for the services available. NBN sets prices at the wholesale level and the uniform national wholesale price of $24 a month is the same for the basic 12Mbps service across fixed line/wireless/satellite.  However, satellite capacity is a finite resource, meaning that internet service providers need to manage the download limits available to customers via their pricing and terms of the plans they offer.

You do not have to use the same provider for LTSS as you currently use for your Satellite connection.  NBN Satellite providers are listed here.

An education port for eligible distance education students is also available.  Details are listed here.

  • SPEED

The LTSS is expected to deliver significantly improved speeds and capacity to remote and regional areas compared to what is currently available on the Interim Satellite Service (ISS). A Fair Use Policy will also apply on this service to ensure that performance and quality of service standards are not degraded by high-volume users. The LTSS will offer peak wholesale download speeds of up to 25Mbps and upload speeds of up to 5 Mbps. NBN are designing the network to provide these speeds to wholesale customers, telephone and internet service providers. End user experience, including the speeds actually achieved over the network, depends on the technology over which services are delivered to premises and some factors outside nbn control like equipment quality, software, broadband plans and how the end user’s service provider designs its network.

  • EQUIPMENT

Existing ISS users switching to LTSS  will need to have new equipment installed at their premises.  NBN will install the new equipment needed (yes customers will need a new dish), however you will book this with your service provider.   A standard installation of the equipment is currently free. However, end users should ask their preferred provider if they have any other fees such as activation fees or fees for routers etc. If you are a current ISS customer your old equipment is owned by NBN and will be removed at no charge, other satellite installations may involve a fee to be removed.  In some instances depending on location, existing ISS users will be switched to services over fixed wireless technology instead of satellite. Again, end users should ask their preferred provider if they have any other fees. If you require wifi from your Sky Muster or Fixed Wireless service you will need to have a compatible router, contact your provider to discuss your options.

  • VOICE

Homes and businesses with the LTSS can use VoIP services if this is supported by their retail service provider. However unlike the fibre offering, the satellite terminating box inside a premises doesn’t include a port to plug in a phone. You will need a router to plug in your VOIP compatible phone.  Copper phone services will still be maintained in areas to be served by fixed wireless and satellite, so customers have the option of retaining their existing phone service.  There is no word as yet if Satellite will replace RRADIO or NGWL phone / voice in the long term.

  • CURRENT ISS USERS

NBN “estimate there’s more than 2000 ISS customers who are currently within Fixed Wireless (FW) coverage… and many more ABG (mobile broadband) customers.”

NBN have geo-mapped to work out areas that currently have interim satellite services but now have Fixed Wireless available – please look at the areas that have been mapped to see if Fixed Wireless is available in your area  (ISS Fixed Wireless Coverage Noticeor use the NBNcheck your address‘.  

NBN Sky Muster Fact Sheet

Choose your Sky Muster provider here.

read our Preparing for Sky Muster document.

Footnote: All information compiled from BIRRR discussions with NBN contacts & NBN website, and is current as at 1st November 2016. 

NBN LTSS THE FACTS DOCUMENT prepared by Kristy Sparrow for BIRRR updated 1/11/2016