What is the nbn™ Sky Muster™ Educational Port ?

UPDATED: 2/11/2016

Late in 2015 the Federal Government set nbn™ the task of developing a dedicated port for education for use with the new nbn™ Sky Muster™ Satellite.

nbn™ have been working with State and Territory education departments to develop a new service called an Educational Port’  which can be delivered over a dedicated port at the remote user’s home via Sky Muster™. This port has been designed specifically for distance education, however future uses could include health and emergency services. You can read more about the announcement here.

The nbn™ Sky Muster™ Satellite dish will be connected to a NTD, shown below.

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What is the Distance Education Working Group?

In 2015 the Government established a Distance Education Working Group consisting of the Federal Department of Communications and Department of Education, executives from nbn™ Satellite team, ICPA and State and Territory Education Departments. The Distance Education Working Group was formed after a BIRRR discussion with Paul Fletcher who was then the Parliamentary Secretary to the Communications Minister of the time (Malcolm Turnbull). The group meets regularly to discuss how to best meet the needs of remote students. You can read more about the need for such a group here.

Who can access the port & how do I apply?

Each state department of education will decide on eligibility requirements for the nbn™ Sky Muster™ Educational Port.  At this stage the port is designed specifically for those students in primary and secondary who are enrolled in distance education and are flagged as geographically isolated enrolments and mapped to receive nbn™ Sky Muster™. nbn™ will support priority installations for home classrooms for the Sky Muster™ service .

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What is the cost?

As each State and Territory Government provides distance education services and funding according to their own policy commitments; pricing and subsidy arrangements for users will be a matter for States and Territories. Prices will be set by individual ISP’s (providers) in consultation with nbn™ and the state/territory government.

Which provider will I have to contact?

This will be entirely dependant on which state you live or school in. You may have a different provider to the provider you use for your home connection.

QUEENSLAND

If you are a QLD distance education family you will:

  1. Need your EQ Student ID to access the port.
  2. You MUST apply for SkyMuster with a provider FIRST.
  3. Tell your provider that you also require an educational port.
  4. nbn™ will coordinate with your chosen provider to ensure a speedy installation of the SkyMuster service.

The education port will NOT be provided FREE of charge to QLD families. The port will be provisioned on your NTD, and you will pay the cost to your provider. You will still receive the broadband internet subsidy which can be used to pay for the education port.

Service Providers offering Education Port Plans (as at 2nd November 2016)

  • SkyMesh has released Education Port Plans – you can sign up here.
  • Activ8Me has released Education Port Plans – you can sign up here (choose the Education tab)
  • Harbour IT have released their plans, you can download them here.
  • ANT has released Education Port Plans – you can sign up here
  • Clear Networks has released Education Port Plans – you can sign up here

NSW

As yet details of how the educational port will work have not been announced. From discussions with nbn™, BIRRR believes that the education port for NSW distance education (Primary & Secondary) students will be funded by the NSW Department of Education. They will most likely tender for the provision of the ports and then the Department will pay for the data allowance. The connection will work as per previous connections in that the Education Department will provide the port to the distance education family through a provider of the department’s choice.  As NSW are already contracted to existing Optus Satellite it may be some time before NSW students are provided with a SkyMuster NBN connection.

WA

In Western Australia:

  • Primary Students must be enrolled in a School of the Air (any one of 5 schools at Kalgoorlie, Meekatharra, Carnarvon, Port Hedland or Kimberley).
  • Secondary Students must be enrolled in the School of Isolated and Distance Education (SIDE).
  • Once enrolled, the school Principal will request an NBN broadband service through the Department’s Customer Service Centre.
  • The service is ordered by the Department’s Information and Communications Division through the RSP (Clear Networks).
  • The Sky Muster service is fully funded the Department.
  • All Department funded services will be delivered through the Education port but lessons can be delivered through any internet service.

SA, NT, TAS

As yet details of how the educational port will work have not been announced. For further details contact the state/territory department of education in your area.

How much data can I get on the Education Port?

nbn™ have designed the port to provide 50GB of PEAK data PER STUDENT per MONTH, to a limit of 150GB per home school room.

This will be confirmed by the relevant education department in your state/territory. It will also be dependant on what types of ‘educational port plans’ each provider offers and what tenders are accepted by educational departments. Although nbn™ Fair Use Policies will be ‘relaxed’ for the educational port, it will be up to the providers to have the final say on the types of plans offered, this includes costs and data limits.

How do I apply for the Sky Muster™ Satellite?

Check out the BIRRR notes on applying for Sky Muster™. If you are in QLD and applying for education port priority you MUST apply with a SkyMuster provider first.

**NB You should check current contracts with your existing provider as you may be obligated to stay with them.

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What equipment will I need ?

Please refer to the BIRRR Preparing for Sky Muster™ document.

It is anticipated that faster Sky Muster™ speeds and new web acceleration technologies will provide an improved web experience for all users compared to previous satellite technologies. It is suggested that members first trial Sky Muster™ before purchasing 3rd party satellite performance or data conservation technologies.

What if I have a separate school room ?

If your school room is located close to your house or within your house, you will be able to access the education port on your home Sky Muster™ installation.

You have one port on the NBN S-NTD for your education port and use another port for your personal use – i.e. you will have TWO plans and may need TWO routers.

Alternatively your RSP may offer you a combined plan for private and educational use over the same port using the same router and plan. RSPs do have the ability to offer combined plans. You need to check with your RSP

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However if your school room is located a considerable distance from the home connection this will require a separate ‘Location ID’ to be raised with NBN and it will be subject to NBN approval. This 2nd Sky Muster connection can have ONLY the education service activated.  This will be determined on a case by case basis by nbn™. If you have more than 1 habitable house on your property, each residence is entitled to a Sky Muster™ installation.

You can have a Sky Muster™ service that has only 1 port provisioned and this port can be JUST the educational port (this will be the case for school rooms located some distance from the home NTD) and will be determined by nbn™ on a case by case basis.

See more details in our Preparing for Sky Muster™ document and the NBN Education Services End User Guide

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* Prepared for BIRRR by Kristy Sparrow, images by BIRRR members & John Kitchener. The information supplied is correct to the best of our knowledge as of 1/11/2016.When further information comes to hand, this page will be updated.  For further details please check with your education department and provider.