Alternative Voice Services Using the Internet

Please note that exisiting landline phone services are not being ‘switched off’ in nbn Sky Muster and nbn Fixed Wireless mapped areas.

However, there are a number of alternative voice technologies that you may use over your internet connection. They can provide a reliable alternative or back-up voice service and they are inexpensive.

VoIP

VoIP is an acronym for Voice Over Internet Protocol, or in simple terms, a telephone service that works over the Internet.

VoIP can be an exhausting topic. In a nutshell it is a relatively cheap and reliable way of voice communication and can work well over satellite and other internet connections. You may use a standard analogue phone handset, or a dedicated VoIP cordless phone system.

Your RSP may configure each nbn™ Sky Muster™ service with a dedicated 150Kbps channel exclusively for voice services. The increased VoIP channel bandwidth of Sky Muster™ provides much improved VoIP voice quality and clarity over the previous Interim Satellite.  However please take into account the reliability of the Sky Muster service before choosing to replace your existing landline.

This small amount of dedicated bandwidth is termed Traffic Class 1 (or TC-1) and is afforded the highest priority. By way of contrast, internet services are allocated Traffic Class 4 (TC-4) or best effort delivery. This means that no matter how busy Sky Muster™ may be at any point in time, the VoIP call will always be delivered with full quality.

How much bandwidth is required and how much internet data will VoIP use?

The bandwidth required to make a VoIP call is dependent on the audio codec used by your provider and equipment.

The most common codec used in Australia is the G.729 codec. G.729 uses just over 13MB per hour receive and 13MB per hour transmit, or about 27MB of two-way data per hour during a call. A VoIP call using G.729 requires 31.2 Kbps for the receive path and 31.2 Kbps for the transmit path. The 150Kbps Sky Muster™ TC-1 channel can support up to four simultaneous G.729 voice calls.

A higher quality G.711a codec requires more bandwidth and will use around 80MB of two-way data per hour during a call. A G.711a VoIP call requires 87.2 Kbps for the receive path and 87.2 Kbps for the transmit path. The 150Kbps Sky Muster™ TC-1 channel can support one G.711a voice call.

VoIP data usage when calls are not active is negligible.

See http://voipchoice.com.au/voip-faqs/#two and https://whirlpool.net.au/wiki/voip_codecs

How much will the Sky Muster™ data cost to make VoIP calls?

Using the G.729 codec as an example, talking for 2 hours per day will consume 54MB per day. Over a month that will total 30 x 54MB or 1.6GB, for 60 Hours of ‘talk time’.

Checking the Sky Muster™ BIRRR plan guide, you will see that, 1GB of data typically costs around $1.00.

Note: 1 GB = 1,000MB. Typical 12/1 plans provide 40GB of peak time data per month for ~ $45.00.

Therefore, 1.6GB costs 1.6 x $1.00 = $1.60 per month.

How much will a VoIP plan cost per month?

A VoIP plan is typically $10 – $20 per month, depending on the inclusions.

VoIP call charges; which are generally economical, when compared to traditional phone call charges. Here is a typical VoIP call charge plan:

VOIP_call_costs

What is the cost of the VoIP hardware?

Most households already have a couple of cordless phones connected to their copper land line. You can re-use this phone system, by connecting it to a suitable VoIP router or router + ATA in lieu of the phone line.

Contact your RSP (or VSP) for the one off cost of providing the necessary VoIP hardware. Typically this cost is ~ $50-$150.

Voip

The diagram shows a Netcomm Wireless NF5 router as used by the provider SkyMesh. This VoIP WIFI router provides an analogue VoIP port for your phone or cordless phone, 4 x 10/100 LAN ports and a USB port.

  • NetComm NF5 Wireless N Router with VoIP – $105.00 (SkyMesh VoIP hardware cost)
  • Netcomm NF13ACV Wireless AC1200 with VoIP – $155.00 (SkyMesh VoiP hardware cost)

Can I keep the same Telephone number for my VoIP service?

You may port your current landline number to the VoIP service, or you can acquire a new local number for the VoIP service, should you wish to keep the landline. Or you could take all incoming calls on your landline and make outgoing calls via the cheaper VoIP service. There are many viable options.

Should I keep my current landline?

It is recommended for nbn™ Sky Muster™ and Fixed wireless users, who do not have access to a mobile service, that a basic land line connection is maintained, as emergency backup. BIRRR recommends using VOiP only as an additional voice service.

For SkyMuster there are three events that WILL cause a temporary loss of service and your VoIP connection will fail:

  1. Power failure, which can be overcome with a backup power source.
  2. Rain fade, for which there is no solution.
  3. Provider or back haul transmission failures and nbn Sky Muster outages.

It is important that both your landline and VoIP line accepts 000 calls.

Your RSP can guide you in the provisioning of a VoIP service on Sky Muster™. Experienced users may consider a 3rd party Voice Service Provider (VSP), however this avenue should only be explored should you require a more complex VoIP service or have business grade requirements.

It is suggested that you discuss VoIP requirements with your RSP and or your trusted technical advisor.

The BIRRR website Preparing for SkyMuster , provides an overview of VoIP on Sky Muster™.

Skype

You may use Skype for voice calls, with the Skype app installed on your smart phone or computer. You can call home and mobile numbers for a small cost.

WiFi Calling

You can use your mobile phone (if compatible) to make calls over your nbn Sky Muster.  Check out the BIRRR Guide to WiFi Calling here

*Please note, while all care has been taken in compiling BIRRR documents, we recommend that you check with your service provider, regarding your own connection issues. Prepared  for BIRRR by John Kitchener 7/1/2016, updated 29/8/18

 

 

Finding SkyMuster

How to find the location of Sky Muster relative to your place

  1. Go to http://www.dishpointer.com/
  2. Sky Muster is not yet listed on DishPointer, so use a satellite that is just next door ie Express-AM5 at 140E.
  3. Enter your location zoom in or out and drag the green marker to the likely dish location.
  4. Tick the ‘show obstacle’ box and move the ‘red marker’ to any obstacle that is in line, to determine if there is any impact of the obstacle on a clear line of sight to the satellite.

Satellite Finder

*Please note, while all care has been taken in compiling BIRRR documents, we recommend that you check with your service provider regarding your own connection issues.

Kindly prepared and illustrated for BIRRR by John Kitchener 25/5/2016

How to use your off-peak data

This article is particularly helpful for nbn Sky Muster Satellite customers. 

SKYMUSTER hours (regardless of your provider) will be:

PEAK: 7am – 1am and OFF-PEAK: 1am to 7am

Wondering how to best utilise your off peak data?

Here are some ways to get the most out of your satellite plans.

Mac Systems: You need to perform a few simple tasks to prepare for scheduled downloads. First, go to System Preferences > Energy Saver and press the Schedule button. Check the Start up or wake check box and select the time for your Mac to wake. You want it to wake at least 1 minute before your Calendar event will fire, to ensure that you are connected to the Internet. Once you have set the wake day and time, click OK and close the Energy Saver window.

OPERATING SYSTEM SOFTWARE:

Operating system updates for Windows 10 and Apple iOS are AUTOMATIC, you cannot schedule them. Earlier versions of Windows can be scheduled.

How to Schedule Windows 10 PRO UPDATES

RECORDING PROGRAMS

Playon 

PlayOn is a program that allows you to record movies and TV shows during off peak times. You can record streaming video from over 100 popular streaming sites including Netflix. Recordings are saved as .MP4 video files which can be easily transferred to an iPad or iPhone via iTunes, or to an Android mobile device. Cost is $2.50US a month. WINDOWS Compatible Only

Playon Cloud

  • Is compatible with both Windows computers and Apple devices. More information about PlayOn Cloud is here. 
  • PlayOn Cloud is a mobile app that can be used to record and then download video files during off peak times.  This is useful for those on satellite connections (who usually have unused off peak data), those who are experiencing network congestion, slow equipment and those wanting to download movies and clips for times when you need to watch offline e.g plane trips and travel.

SCHEDULING ITUNES DOWNLOADS

MAC Users: The following link shows you how to schedule downloads (apps, music, movies, TV shows etc) in off peak times in itunes using a Mac CLICK HERE  You can also use this method to update apps in off peak times and then connect your i-device to the computer / itunes and update on your device or transfer downloads without using data.

DROPBOX SYNCING

Use the following links to sync your dropbox files at night during off peak times.

MOBILE DEVICES SOFTWARE UPDATES

APPLE: Apple iOS are only automatic if you are connected via WiFi or cable. If the device is Cellular only, it is NOT automatic, and can be scheduled but therefore can’t use your Sky Muster off peak data for these updates.

DOWNLOAD SCHEDULERS

Install a DOWNLOAD SCHEDULER to your computer that allows large file downloads to be scheduled during off peak hours. They work by adding a link to the file you want downloaded and then scheduling this download.  Some recommended download schedulers are:

Once you have installed the download scheduler application you can choose the time/day you wish to download the file(s).

WARNING: Please be careful with download manager add-ons, some have been known to be malicious and deliberately spam users or Hijack user’s computers.

Do not click on any pop ups, links, ads or programs that promise to speed up your computer or internet connection – these often contain malicious software. These links or ads are especially common on popular speed testing websites.

SCHEDULE EMAILS

GMAIL SCHEDULER DOWNLOAD

Email Scheduler for Gmail lets you schedule email messages inside Gmail with the help of a Google Spreadsheet. You can write your messages now and Gmail will send them later at your specified date and time, thus you can schedule it to use your off peak data. The scheduler can also send recurring emails that go out automatically on daily, weekly, monthly or yearly repetitive schedule.

MICROSOFT OUTLOOK SCHEDULER

Microsoft Outlook can also schedule delivery (and reception) of email messages.

*Please note, while all care has been taken in compiling BIRRR documents, we recommend that you check with your ISP regarding off peak data if you have any concerns.  As the #datadrought mainly impacts satellite customers with off peak data we have focussed on off peak data for these customers.   Thanks to BIRRR members  Julie Stott & Kye Rosendale for assistance in compiling this document.  

Sky Muster Routers

BIRRR recommends that customers use the router offered by their provider; as this ensures ongoing support for both the service and your local network.

Now is an ideal time and opportunity to discuss your evolving network needs with both your RSP and/ or trusted technical advisor.

Before making changes, always talk to your provider and follow their advice.

Your RSP will assist with any troubleshooting of the new Sky Muster connection. This support will work best if you are using the router models that they provide.

Common Questions:

Will my old router work on SKY MUSTER?

Your existing WIFI router may be fine for Sky Muster; as long as it has a WAN port that provides Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP). Note: 99% of ADSL routers are unsuitable for any nbn service.

If your existing WIFI router is less than 5-6 years old, 300n WIFI (minimum), has a WAN port (blue) and a 1-4 10/100Mbps LAN ports (yellow); it should work on your Sky Muster service. It may look something like this:

SM8
A typical 300n 10/100 4 LAN port router

 

Even older 802.11g routers which first arrived in 2003, will work, although they may be slower.

Should I upgrade my current router?

It may be worthwhile upgrading your current router if it is old. Current routers can offer more features that may better serve your network requirements. (Discuss this with your RSP in conjunction with your trusted technical advisor). However, a new model router is unlikely to speed up your connection, unless your existing router is too old, faulty or poorly configured.

New model routers also offer improved WIFI and may support both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz WIFI bands. It is worth noting that 2.4Ghz generally provides better and wider coverage in a large home. If you ‘do a lot’ with your home network e.g it is connected to many devices, includes a media server and/or fast hard drives, printer(s), scanners etc; a newer router will speed up WIFI connections and data transfers within the network.

Newer routers may offer faster LAN ports (1,000Mbps) and USB ports(s) that may support a USB printer and or a hard drive. These devices may then be accessed by anyone on the network. Refer to the router manufacturer website for specifications for further information.

Any new router from your RSP or shop, will be supplied with a suitable Ethernet cable to connect the nbn NTD to your WIFI router.

Do I have to get a router?

If you want to connect more than one computer to your Sky Muster installation you will need WiFi and therefore you will need a router.

If you would prefer to LAN connect your devices (rather than WIFI), you can install a switch to accommodate the extra LAN ports. Your technical advisor can provide further information.

Is there a router that can help me manage my data usage?

It may be useful to install Gargoyle on your router. Gargoyle is a free router firmware that can be installed on certain routers. Gargoyle provides tools to both measure and conserve your precious monthly Sky Muster plan quota. It may sound complicated, but if you can perform a firmware upgrade on a router, you can install and run Gargoyle.

What router should I get?

Some providers configure their supplied routers before sending to the customer.  This means they are ‘Plug and Play’ and use the DHCP protocol.  Other Sky Muster providers use PPPOE protocol which means you will need to set up your router.  You would need to have a username and password with PPPOE, while the configuration of DHCP is automatic.

DHCP = Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol

PPPOE = Point-to-Point Protocol over Ethernet

Sky Muster™ RSP Router offers – August 2018

The following router information is provided by best endeavour.
Please confirm details with your RSP

SkyMuster Routers25May

  1. VoIP (Voice calls over the Internet) may be provided by the addition of an RSP provided Analogue Telephone Adapter (ATA). This is additional equipment, or a VoIP Compatible Router.
  2. NOTE: Some providers offer free or discounted routers, if customers sign up to a 12 or 24 month contract.
  3. Please refer to the Router Manufacturer for further specifics and information on the Router Capabilities.

300n (or 802.11n) are base model single WIFI band 2.4Ghz routers.

AC (or 802.11ac) provide faster WIFI speeds. The higher the ‘AC No.‘ the faster the router. It will likely have more user features.

Links to RSP router offerings and Manufacturer websites

D-Link

NETGEAR

TP-LINK

 

Typical Router Setup

S-NTD Router cable connections

NOTE:  The LAN cable (yellow here, can be other colours)  generally goes from UNI-D 1 on your Sky Muster Modem (NTD)  to the WAN input on the router (usually the yellow socket).

*Please note, while all care has been taken in compiling BIRRR documents, we recommend that you check with your service provider regarding your own connection issues. Updated 29/8/18

 

How to find your Latitude and Longitude using Google Maps

Google Maps is a web application that allows users to find and search for locations, get directions, and view street view maps using a scalable, virtual map interface via their browser. The service is powered by high-resolution satellite images, allowing users to zoom in on maps, sometimes down to street level, through the Street View feature.
This article provides details for how to get longitude and latitude for any given location using Google Maps. Your co-ordinates will offer the best information for nbn™ and your service provider to locate you.
1. Go to https://www.google.com.au/maps/

Google Maps2.  Enter the city, town, country, address, or other location you want to find the longitude and latitude for and click the “Search Maps” button.

 

google maps 2

 

A red marker is placed on the map, pinpointing the location you have entered.

3. Right-click the red marker or a surrounding area and select the “What’s here?” option from the context menu.

 

google maps 3

4.  A pop up appears with the location latitude and longitude displayed. This will also drop a grey arrow marker on the map.

google maps 4

5.  Left click on the latitude and longitude. The side panel displays the details of the location.

 

google maps 56.   Copy and paste details as required from the side panel.

*Please note, while all care has been taken in compiling BIRRR documents, we recommend that you check with your service provider, regarding your own addressing issues.

Prepared  for BIRRR by John Kitchener 24/4/2016

nbn Sky Muster Educational Port ?

An nbn Sky Muster Education Port is a dedicated port in the nbn modem (NTD), specifically designed for distance education and home school students (preschool, primary & secondary) who are mapped to receive nbn Sky Muster. The port enables each eligible student to access a set amount of data for education (50GB per student, limited to 150GB per Sky Muster NTD).

10418540_10153470487062316_4889024704295236924_n

Each state department of education decides on eligibility requirements for the nbn Sky Muster Educational Port and how it is delivered.

In QLD, NT & SA the end-user (YOU) is responsible for the ordering and payment of the education port (you are eligible for an allowance to help subsidise the cost of internet), in other states the Department of Education organise the connection and payment (NSW & WA) or there is no subsidised port available (VIC & TAS).

If you are home-schooling or educating via distance education in QLD, SA, VIC, TAS & NT, you may like to investigate an nbn Sky Muster Plus Plan.

nbn Sky Muster Plus Plans would provide you with:

  • unlimited unmetered data for schooling, things like Blackboard, emails, Dropbox, One Drive, web browsing, video conferencing + more etc are unmetered (they don’t count in your usage & are never slowed).
  • a data allowance for metered content, things like You Tube, Tik Tok, Netflix, Stan, Kayo e.t.c (video streaming & VPN).
  • a speed burst

BIRRR advise is to analyse your current data use on your Education Port and look at switching to a small Plus plan (either 25GB or 50GB depending on the number of children in your classroom), the majority of your children’s schooling requirements will be UNMETERED and therefore PLUS represents better value for money than an education port for QLD, SA, VIC, TAS & NT users. nbn estimate on average that 70% of your current usage will be unmetered, this is likely to be higher for current education port accounts.

NB: iinet, Westnet & Bordernet do NOT offer PLUS plans.

DOWNLOAD THE FACT SHEET : BIRRR Sky Muster Education Ports

Education Port State Specifics:

* You may need to provide a Student ID number from your child’s school to order an Education Port.

QUEENSLAND

QLD broadband internet subsidy: An annual payment of $500 to eligible students to assist with provision of broadband internet access.  Available to students currently enrolled at a State School of Distance Education for a minimum of 6 months continuous enrolment.

NEW SOUTH WALES & WESTERN AUSTRALIA

In NSW & WA, you need to contact the school regarding an Education Port.

In Western Australia (updated 29/8/18):

  • 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) – these students must request access, as it is not automatically offered.
  • Once enrolled, the school Principal will request and pay for an NBN satellite 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 nbn Sky Muster service is fully funded the Department.

Service Providers offering Education Port Plans (as at 31/08/18)

These providers DO NOT Offer Educational Port services: Bordernet, iinet, Westnet, Southern Phone

NB: 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.

What equipment will I need ?

Please refer to the BIRRR Preparing for Sky Muster document.

Google Cloud Print (or similar) allows you to print to a central printer if you have more than one port operational on your nbn Sky Muster connection.

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 nbn Sky Muster installation.

You have one port on the NBN NTD (the nbn modem) 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

SM3

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 an additional nbn Sky Muster installation. 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).

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

How did the Education Port come about ?

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 worked with State and Territory education departments to develop an Educational Port’  which is delivered over a dedicated port at the remote user’s home via Sky Muster. This port was designed specifically for distance education and home schoolers, however future uses could include health and emergency services. You can read more about the announcement here.

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, Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association (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 to discuss how to best meet the needs of remote students. You can read more about the need for such a group here.

* Prepared for BIRRR by Kristy Sparrow, images by BIRRR members & John Kitchener. Updated 12/10/2020. For further details please check with your education department and provider.

Preparing For nbn™ Sky Muster™

Are you ready for Sky MusterTM 

Once you have ordered your Sky Muster service (with your provider) the below steps will walk you through how to prepare for your installation.  You can check out the nbn Guide on How to prepare for your Sky Muster Installation here.

The BIRRR article below will also help you cover the bases, including:


SATELLITE DISHES

Q: Who will co-ordinate this part of install?  A: nbn, via your chosen ISP (provider)

Most Sky Muster dishes are more compact than earlier satellite installations and more like a large Foxtel dish.  Customers don’t have much control over dish installation – nbn will allocate (at the time of order) which dish your premises will get, determined for your location – although you can suggest to installer WHERE generally on the roof might suit your office setup most.

SM2
Example of Sky Muster Satellite Dish

There are three sizes of dish; 80cm, 120cm and 180cm; and two transmitters’ (TRIA’s); a 3W and a 6W. That makes six possible combinations. Well over 90% of premises will get the 80cm/3W combination.

The three dishes have different mounting capabilities. The 80cm can go on a wall, on a tin roof or on the gutter of a tile roof. The 120cm can go on a wall or on a tin roof. The 180cm is a pretty special size that won’t be used much, but it’s a non-penetrating ground mount.


NTD (nbn connection box) INSTALLATION

Who will co-ordinate this part of install?  A: nbn, via your chosen ISP (provider)

This schematic of a typical Sky MusterTM installation shows the NTD and a WIFI router. The installer is responsible for installing the dish on your roof and the nbn (NTD) box in your house.  They are NOT responsible for connecting your router and home network.

SM1


RETHINKING YOUR HOME NETWORK

Q: Who you will deal with?  A: your chosen ISP (provider) and nbn installer

The Sky MusterTM installation may be an opportunity to rethink how your existing home network is configured and where the key equipments are located.

  • Is your current modem in the best location?
  • Is it handy to your WIFi router?
  • Where is your printer?
  • Is the WIFI router in the best location to provide coverage throughout your home?

BASIC FACTS to keep in mind:

– The provisional maximum cable distance from the Sky MusterTM satellite dish to the Network Termination Device (NTD) is 50m.

– The nbn™ standard practice is to wall mount the Sky MusterTM NTD to keep it out of the way of damage, tripping hazard etc.

– The NTD must be adjacent to a power socket.

– A special blue coloured, single coaxial cable from the dish will terminate at a wall plate.

– The Sky MusterTM NTD consumes around 40W continuous and is quite warm/ hot to the touch.

NB More details are available in the nbn™ Sky Muster User Guide

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 9.16.16 AM


 

ROUTERS

Q: Who you will deal with?  A: Your ISP (provider) and if necessary your IT expert

See the BIRRR document on Sky Muster Routers

*Before making changes to your home network, always talk to your provider and follow their advice.


 

ADDING A VOICE OVER INTERNET PROTOCOL (VOIP) SERVICE TO SKY MUSTERTM

Q: Who you will deal with?  A: Your ISP (provider)

See the BIRRR document on Voice Services over Sky Muster.

You should keep your existing landline as this service will continue to be maintained for Sky Muster customers as part of the Universal Service Obligation. You may find that keeping the landline for incoming calls only and using VoIP for outgoing calls may be a useful cost benefit compromise. Two phone services for less than the price of one.


 

SKY MUSTER ‘EDUCATIONAL’ NTD PORT.

Who you will deal with?  A: The Education Port on Sky Muster differs in each state, depending on your department of education policies.

A specific ‘education’ port is available for students who are home schooled or enrolled in an approved school of distance education.  Availability differs in each state. BIRRR advises you to check with your state’s Department of Education regarding your eligibility.

Additional routers and equipment may be necessary to access the education port.

Your RSP may assist with the initial service installation, router provisioning and equipment configuration. You will need a student ID to access the port.

Further information is available in the BIRRR Document What is an Educational Port.

 


*Please note, while all care has been taken in compiling BIRRR documents, we recommend that you check with your service provider, regarding your Sky Muster connection and equipment needed. Updated 29/8/18

How Do I Get nbn™ ?

Did you know EVERY Australian residence will be able to access some form of nbn™ by the end of 2020 ?

  • Every Australian residence  will be able to access some form of nbn™ – fixed, fixed wireless or satellite. nbn™ are a wholesaler for the service, they sell to providers who then sell to the public.

At BIRRR headquarters we spend a lot of time researching the facts for our many members. We have noticed lately some confusion over the release of the new nbn Sky Muster Satellite service. The single most important item to remember is to research plans and providers, don’t stick with an old plan just because you have been with that provider for years. Sky Muster Providers are listed here.

To help choose an nbn provider check out the BIRRR Tip Sheet.

To compare Sky Muster providers – see our Sky Muster Plan Comparison.

How do you find out what type of nbn™ you will be getting at your address ?

STEP 1. Check your address on the NBN Rollout Map. The map should state what nbn technology your address is mapped for. If the pin on the map is not your actual house, go to Step 2.  If you are close to purple shading or have line of sight to a nbn Fixed Wireless tower (and not in purple shading), go to Step 2.

If your address looks correct, click on the arrow to find out if your residence is ready for service and which providers you can chose from.  When you contact a provider you will be given an install date for an nbn technician to come and install your equipment.

If your address does not map. Go to Step 2

Screen Shot 2018-08-17 at 3.14.47 PM

 

STEP 2. If you find your address does not display or is incorrect on the nbn Check your Address site you can contact nbn directly via email – info@nbn.com.au or phone 1800 687 626 and ask for your address to be fixed up so that you can order a service.

If you have any difficulties or think you are eligible for a different nbn technology,  BIRRR can assist via our desk check process.

Please note, while all care has been taken in compiling BIRRR documents, we recommend that you check with nbn™ or your provider regarding your connection.

Prepared for BIRRR by Kristy Sparrow, updated 17/08/18

Alternate Voice Telephony

Alternate Voice Telephony

Everyone is familiar with landline and mobile phones. There are a number of alternative voice technologies that you may use over your internet connection. They can provide a reliable alternative or back-up voice service and they are inexpensive.

VoIP

VoIP can be an exhausting topic. In a nutshell it is a relatively cheap and reliable way of voice communication and can work well over satellite and other internet connections. You may use a standard analogue phone handset, or a dedicated VoIP cordless phone system etc. VoIP is available over the Interim Satellite Service and an improved VoIP service  is now available over the Long Term Satellite Service (Sky Muster). Click here to read more on VOIP over Sky Muster.

For more details regarding a VoIP service, talk with your RSP or arrange for a VoIP service with a VoIP only service provider.

Skype

You may use Skype for voice calls, with the Skype app installed on your smart phone or computer. You can call home and mobile numbers for a small cost. See http://www.skype.com/en/features/call-phones-and-mobiles/. You may also purchase a Skype cordless phone which LAN cable connects to your internet router. See http://dualphone.net/

*Please note, while all care has been taken in compiling BIRRR documents, we recommend that you check with your service provider, regarding your own connection issues.

Prepared  for BIRRR by John Kitchener 7/1/2016

SKY MUSTER PLANS BETTER FOR THE BUSH, BUT FOR HOW LONG?

Bush broadband to get a light shower, but no real end to #DataDrought predicted.

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 12.37.23 PM
Image from nbn co

After a long wait, Australia’s bush broadband users can finally get a look at nuts-and-bolts information for the new Sky Muster satellite with the release by nbn co of the Satellite Fair Use Policy… and it confirms their expectations.

Whilst they were hoping for a widespread soaking of data, the announcement of plans by nbn co for the Sky Muster satellite has provided ‘a light shower’ rather than long-term resolution of predicted data shortfalls.

“With years of dealing with almost non-existent speeds and very low data limits, rural regional and remote Australians have been looking hopefully to Sky Muster as ‘The Answer’ to their internet woes,” said BIRRR chief admin, Kristy Sparrow.

The maximum plan (issued by nbn co to retail suppliers) will be 75Gb Peak data usage, peak & off peak data limits will be set by providers. The Sky Muster Satellite is expected to be available for use by customers in four months time (April 2016).

There are 200 ‘trial sites’ currently being installed for Sky Muster by nbn co.

“While this (announcement) is better that we currently have, it by no means covers what data needs could be in a year, two years time, let alone another decade,” said Ms Sparrow.

The maximum nbn co deal of 150Gb (total) will see users speed limited if they breach the plan limit over a 4 week rolling period. The nbn co Fair Use Policy has severe penalties (for the service provider) if a user goes over the 150Gb in any 4 weeks (not necessarily their billing period). This will impact plan pricing and tiers as no provider will want plan limits breached. nbn co considers that 75Gb or more of data usage during Peak hours in any four week period constitutes a breach of its Fair Use Policy AND 150Gb or more of Data Usage in any four week period (Peak or Off Peak) also breaches the Fair Use Policy.

“As we take on feedback from people across Australia at the BIRRR Facebook group, members are very concerned that the new limits – while an improvement on current restrictive plans – will not address decent long-term service across Australia, as business becomes more and more internet and cloud based.“

Everything is app or internet dependant these days – from mapping and management of properties, to tracing cattle movements and payment of bills and accounting needs. That’s not even taking into innovative farming technology, social, health or education requirements”.

The BIRRR team were also disappointed to see off peak times announced as 1am – 7am and hope that nbn co and providers continue to investigate innovative ways to use off peak data allowances.

“The majority of members feel that these times are virtually unusable and as such the data will not be able to be accessed,” Ms Sparrow said.

BIRRR were however thrilled to see details of a second port for distance education users released, details are still to be confirmed however the port is expected to provide distance education students with a 50GB per student data allowance (to a maximum of 150GB per port), as well as expected priority of access to Skymuster.  This is fantastic news for primary and secondary students and we hope tertiary students can be included in the near future.

“All in all, whilst there has been some improvements, we are still going to have inequitable service and costs when compared to metropolitan areas,” Ms Sparrow said.

“Our main concern at BIRRR is that data usage is doubling at a rapid rate and plans are not keeping up.”

Speeds are expected to be better than current connections, with 25/5Mbps touted by nbn co. Current BIRRR survey data shows, bush broadband users endure speeds below 4/2Mbps (and often less than 2Mbps).

BIRRR predicts customers will flock to secure access to the new satellite as soon as providers have plan offers available.  Skymesh LTSS plans are available here 

As information and plans become available, the BIRRR team will post it to their website: www.birrraus.com.au as well as the Facebook page.

BIRRR urge all regional Australian’s to ensure they complete the regional internet access survey to ensure our voices are heard. Please access the survey here

 

Controlling Internet Data Usage with Gargoyle Router

Are you regularly running out of internet “downloads” or data? Kids keep on using it all? Not sure where it’s going?
This document describes the process of setting up a “Gargoyle” Router to enforce data usage quotas for each device on your computer network.
Unfortunately, due to the many variables of different internet connection types and equipment types, it is not simple to give a single step-by-step guide, but this may hopefully help some of you out, even if you have to get a computer tech in to set it up for you.
There is a New Zealand company selling Gargoyle routers (posted to Australia), and will help you set them up if you pay for their time.
http://www.portable.geek.nz/
These Gargoyle routers will allow you to set quotas limiting how much data each device on your network can use over a given time period, so as to ensure you do not use all of your monthly internet allowance. You can see how much data each device is using, and set limits for each device. These limits can reset every hour, every day, every week, or every month, and can be set differently for different devices on your network.
The Gargoyle program is free, and can be downloaded from Gargoyle , however you need a special router to put it on, and this can be a bit tricky for those who are not experienced with computer networking.
IMPORTANT – PLEASE READ: You, and you alone are responsible for what you do with this information. It has the potential to stop your internet from working, and to destroy your new Gargoyle router. BIRRR & I are not responsible for this, and cannot necessarily help you fix any problems occurring as a result of this. This is complicated stuff, and you may need help from an experienced computer tech to get it working.
Due to the large amount of possible modems, routers and network types, I cannot give step-by-step instructions for every router available. However the Gargoyle website provides some instructions for the TP-Link TL-WR1043ND Router, which is fairly cheap (about $70) and can be purchased from many online retailers, and maybe your local computer shop or IT Technician, who may also be able to assist you with the setup. (But they quite likely will not know of Gargoyle, so you would have to show them the website – http://www.gargoyle-router.com)
Types of Modems/Internet connections
Your setup will also vary depending on the type of internet connection you have. BEFORE YOU START, take note of how everything is plugged in and connected together. Draw pictures, write notes, take photos, whatever is needed to help you put it back as is if you run into trouble.
If you have a modem or router that has an Ethernet port (to take a cable that looks like this),

cable

then it is reasonably easy to make work. If you have satellite, ADSL, Next G Wireless Loop or a Telstra/Bigpond Network Gateway, this is what you should have. When you are finished, It will all be plugged in like this:

gargoyle 1
If not, you will likely need the assistance of someone experienced with computer networking, so I will attempt to provide some examples of how to set it up for them to follow.
If you have a 3G/4G USB Dongle, you will need to get a router to connect the USB dongle to. This will be another separate piece of equipment to purchase. Check out http://ofmodemsandmen.com/ If you do this, you would then end up with the scenario in the drawing above, and can continue setting up Gargoyle. Alternatively, and preferably, if your Gargoyle router has a USB port, you may be able to connect the USB dongle directly to the Gargoyle Router, and use it as the internet source. I have done this once, and it worked quite well. However, Some routers will not supply enough power to the USB dongle for this to work reliably.
You may also have a wifi only device, like the Telstra 4G Wifi modems. I have never tried this, but you should be able to set it up like this:

gargoyle2

Getting Gargoyle installed onto a router

You cannot just use any router, and this page has some links to different options: Gargoyle Router

But, for the sake of this document, let’s go with the TP-Link TL-WR1043ND – it can be purchased from many Australian retailers, look here for places to order it from: Static Ice

There are currently three versions of the TP-Link TL-WR1043ND router, V1.x (old), V2.1 (current) and 3.0 (current). Version 2.1 and V3.0 are identical in appearance.

Version 1 is the oldest. Version 2 is newer and is well proven. Version 3 (latest), may be problematic, as it is not yet directly supported by Gargoyle (at Jan 2016). When buying the TP-Link TL-WR1043ND, check with your supplier to determine which version they can supply.

Note: Here is a link to other routers which run Gargoyle:
https://www.gargoyle-router.com/wiki/doku.php?id=supported_routers_-_tested_routers
It is recommended to select one of the newest routers with a fast CPU and larger RAM / Flash Memory. Atheros AR71XX based Routers have a proven track record with Gargoyle.

You must download and install the specific Gargoyle file for the router you have / bought.
https://www.gargoyle-router.com/download.php
Select the file which ends in … squashfs-factory.bin. This is the correct .bin file to flash your factory firmware router.

For a V1, get this file: V1 FILE   – clicking on file will automatically download it

For a V2, get this file: V2 FILE – clicking on file will automatically download it

Each of these files are about 8mb in size, and should only take, at most, about 5-20 minutes to download, unless your internet is really, really slow.

  1. Save this file onto your computer.
  2. Physically unplug your computer from the internet, or disconnect the wireless.
  3. Connect the router to the power, and to your computer with the supplied network cable:cable
  4. Open up the webpage that controls the router, which should be at either of these addresses: Address 1  or Address 2 – try each of them.
  5. Next, on the menu on the left side of the screen, click System Tools, then Firmware Upgrade. Then click browse, and choose the file you downloaded earlier. Then click Upgrade. (If you get the error message “please choose a file to upgrade”, then rename the firmware file to something shorter (i.e. “gargoyle.bin”) and upload it again)
  6. Wait about 5 minutes then you should be able to open the website http://192.168.1.1/
    If after 5 minutes 192.168.1.1 won’t open, restart both the Gargoyle router and your computer and try again. To restart Gargoyle, just pull the power cable out, then plug it back in. If this doesn’t work, you are going to need to get help from someone experienced with computer networking. Or you can try repeating everything you did earlier.
  7. The Gargoyle website provides a detailed procedure for the initial configuration of your new Gargoyle router. See http://www.gargoyle-router.com/wiki/doku.php?id=getting_started.
    The following steps take you briefly through this procedure.
    1. Log into 192.168.1.1 via your browser. It will ask for a password. The password is password, so type it in and login.
    2. Once logged in, you should see a screen that looks similar to this:
      GargoyleRouterHomePageScreenshot
    3. Click the Connection button on the left side menu.
    4. In the Internet/WAN section, you need to choose DHCP (wired) if Gargoyle is to be connected to your modem via a network cable. This is the default setting and will work with all nbn™ NTU or modem connections scenarios. Choose DHCP (wireless) if it is to be connected by WIFI.
    5. You must turn on and secure the WIFI. Use WPA2 PSK security, set the Access Point SSID (the WIFI name) and the Wireless Channel. Default is Ch 11 is fine. The remainder of the default settings should not need attention at this time.

Plugging it into your computer network

Once that is done, you can connect Gargoyle to your internet modem (either by LAN cable or wirelessly), and connect your computers and other devices, either by cable or WIFI, to Gargoyle, instead of the original modem.

If it is all done right, you should be able to connect to the internet; in which case you are almost done.

NOTE: No devices should be connected directly to your old modem, as they will be bypassing Gargoyle’s quotas. You may need to turn the WIFI off on your old modem, or change the password, to keep kids (and big kids) from bypassing Gargoyle. If there is no connection, re-check everything you have done. Maybe get someone else to have a look, as it is easy to get frustrated and confused, and overlook simple things. Failing that, you may have to get a computer tech to look at it. But, in the meantime, you should be able to go back to your old setup.

Setting up quotasGargoyleSideMenu

But before you do that, you may wish to use Gargoyles bandwidth monitoring feature to determine just which computers on your network are using data and when. See https://www.gargoyle-router.com/wiki/doku.php?id=bandwidth_usage

Now you just need to setup your quotas.

Open the gargoyle router page at http://192.168.1.1 and login. Then, click Firewall in the left side menu, then click Quotas.

Once again there is a good Gargoyle website explanation for setting quotas. See http://www.gargoyle-router.com/wiki/doku.php?id=quotas

The Quota page has a variety of options. Have a play around and set it up as you want. Then click Save Changes. Sometimes you may have to restart the Gargoyle for it to take effect. To do this, navigate to System then Reboot or pull out the power cord, count to 10, then plug it back in.

To monitor the quotas, click Status on the left side menu and then click Quota Usage. This page will show you in real time, how much each device has used.

That’s about it. I hope this helps out some of you.

I am sorry I can’t give more specific instructions. Dependant on your equipment and users there are many variations for how it could be configured.

Here is an interesting read on a similar project using Gargoyle on a satellite service in the USA: http://raisedbyturtles.org/limiting-daily-bandwidth-on-home-router

Prepared by Nick Marlow from Mitiamo IT for BIRRR 4/11/2015 – Updated 6/06/2016.

*Please note, while all care has been taken in compiling BIRRR documents, we recommend that you check with your own IT consultant regarding this and other latest programs and equipment.

What is unmetering and how does it work?

What does Unmetering mean ?

Some Providers are offering what is referred to un-metered data, this means that any data you use will not be counted against your actual data allowance. While no unmetered access is offered on satellite connections, some ISPs like SkyMesh, iiNet, Optus and Telstra (Bigpond) offer certain services that are not counted as part of your data allowance.

These are some common questions and answers:

What ISPs offer Unmetered services?

  • Skymesh (for NBN Fixed Wireless and NBN Fibre – Netflix content delivered over Australian peering links will not be counted against your data allowance. You have to be an Australian Netflix subscriber)
  • iiNet ( See here for details)
  • Internode (See here for details)
  • Telstra/Bigpond (See here for details)

Freezone

The Freezone offers a range of video and radio content for iiNet, Westnet, Netspace, Internode and Adam Internet customers to enjoy without taking a hit to their monthly quota. Everything from movies, music, sports and gaming content is available along with several live streamed events throughout the year.

Netflix

Skymesh, iiNet and Internode offer unmetered access to Netflix in Australia on Fixed Line NBN and Fixed Wireless NBN. In the Case of iiNet and Internode this is also offered on standard ADSL bundles (Not Naked DSL connections).  Netflix works on a per month subscription payment.

Presto

Telstra offers unmetered access to Presto and a variety of services,  detailed in the link above, on Bigpond Wireless Broadband, Telstra Home Broadband (including NBN FTTX and ADSL).  Presto works on a per month subscription payment.

presto
Presto unmetering shown in yellow on a Bigpond Usage Chart

Bigpond Movies

Bigpond Movies is unmetered for Bigpond customers, movies need to be purchased (rented) individually , however downloads are free.

Some movies are also free on Thanks Thursdays

NB: Whenever you see the BigPond Unmetered icon (green dot), download as much as you like and it won’t count towards your monthly usage limit.  Please note that the Green Dot may not be on all pages,

Education Sites Telstra/Bigpond

Telstra/Bigpond also offer unmetered access to some distance education sites and Portals:

A letter written to ICPA Federal (Isolated Parent’s Childrens’ Association) from Telstra Country Wide re unmetering education websites used by distance education students.

Telstra is committed to listen, learn and respond as positively as possible to issues raised by the ICPA. In this day and age, the internet is a vital source for students and in a country the size of Australia, there are geographical, capacity and commercial realities why it’s not possible to provide the full range of broadband services in some regional and remote locations. What we can do is help families better manage their broadband allowances. From 1 September 2015, Telstra will be un-metering a number of key Education websites for all BigPond and Telstra Mobile Broadband users.

This is on top of the 21 sites that are already unmetered. This was in response to a motion made at last year’s conference and following a visit by Andrew Coull and the Telstra Country Wide team to the Alpha region in Queensland where ICPA members and local families talked about what was most important to them.

To address one of the challenges regional and remote communities face in order to provide children with the best possible tools and support to further their education, Telstra is adding value to their broadband allowance through the un-metering of educational websites. These sites were identified with the ICPA and relevant Departments of Education. We may change sites from unmetered to metered at any time. Of course, as these are new unmetered sites, we don’t expect to make changes anytime soon.

Unmetering Terms & Conditions
On and from 1 September  2015 unless otherwise advised, a number of key education websites will be unmetered.
Some of the key sites include:
Queensland Department of Education and Training (e.g. det.qld.gov.au, education.qld.gov.au)*
WA Department of Education and Training (e.g. http://det.wa.edu.au/*)
SA Department for Education & Child Development (www.centra.sa.edu.au)
Creative Generation (www.creativegeneration.deta.qld.gov.au)
Scootle Community (https://www.scootle.edu.au)
Moodle (http://Moodle.openaccess.edu.au)
When accessing these sites, Telstra Mobile Broadband users, as well as BigPond Broadband Members on ADSL, Cable or Mobile Broadband plans (excluding hourly plans), can access downloads, video streams and editorial content without affecting their monthly usage limit. Note that the un-metering does not apply to Telstra Satellite users.

Please note that unmetering won’t apply if you’re accessing the internet using International Roaming. Additionally, some elements of an unmetered site may be metered if they are sourced from other websites that are metered, including things such as advertisements, YouTube videos, Google maps or social media services. Every time you visit or refresh a page you will incur the download of that content.

Kind regards
Libby Dalton
Executive Officer | Telstra Country Wide

Note: BIRRR have been working with Telstra Country Wide to ensure elearn and iconnect are included on the unmetering list for QLD distance education students. As of 4th term 2015 these sites were unmetered however changes have been made in early 2016, if QLD families find themselves ‘shaped’ whilst these sites are being worked through please contact BIRRR ~ birrraus@gmail.com  For further information contact the department of education in your state.

UPDATED February 2016

  • These sites were identified in consultation with the ICPA and a number of Departments of Education.  We will continue to monitor and refine the websites included and make changes from unmetered to metered as appropriate.

The sites below are in addition to those already unmetered as listed on Telstra.com (https://www.telstra.com.au/support/category/broadband/manage/bigpond-unmetered-sites).

SITE IP ADDRESS UNMETERED
elearn.eq.edu.au 203.104.8.81, 203.104.12.58
iconnect.eq.edu.au 203.104.8.82, 203.104.12.82, 203.104.12.58, 203.104.12.59, 203.104.12.60, 203.104.12.61
learningplace.eq.edu.au 203.104.8.83, 203.104.12.80, 203.104.12.90, 203.104.12.91, 203.104.8.80
iconnect-06.eq.edu.au 203.104.8.58, 203.104.12.58
iconnect-07.eq.edu.au 203.104.8.59, 203.104.12.59
iconnect-08.eq.edu.au 203.104.8.60, 203.104.12.60
staff.learningplace.eq.edu.au 203.104.8.90, 203.104.12.91
students.learningplace.eq.edu.au 203.104.8.91, 203.104.12.91
iconnect-09.eq.edu.au 203.104.8.61, 203.104.12.61
www.centra.sa.edu.au 203.122.254.35
www.centra.sa.edu.au 203.122.255.228
www.centra.sa.edu.au 203.122.254.36
www.centra.sa.edu.au 203.122.254.45
http://Moodle.openaccess.edu.au 221.121.151.143
https://www.scootle.edu.au 182.255.102.66
http://det.wa.edu.au/* 203.14.52.90
hrmisdev.det.wa.edu.au 203.14.52.104
itu.det.wa.edu.au
jobs.det.wa.edu.au
portlets.det.wa.edu.au
schoolsplus.det.wa.edu.au
scripts.det.wa.edu.au
swandeo.det.wa.edu.au
womeninleadership.det.wa.edu.au
http://education.wa.edu.au/*
biggerpicture.education.wa.edu.au
http://webcollaboration.det.wa.edu.au/*
http://portal.det.wa.edu.au/* 203.14.53.48
http://carnarvonsota.wa.edu.au/ * 129.94.183.231

 

So How does the Unmetering work?

It’s very simple, assume you have a Telstra Bigpond wireless plan with 4GB of data. You browse to Presto.com.au and start watching a whole heap of movies to the amount of 10GB, and then you browse to say youtube.com and use 3GB of data on Videos.

Telstra will calculate your actual usage to be:

  • 3000mb (3gb) of 4gb used (while viewing YouTube) +
  • 10gb of unmetered content (while viewing Presto) for a total of
  • 13gb used but only billed for 3gb, leaving with 1gb of metered data for the rest of the month.

Once you use that 1gb of data, then your service will be slowed down (shaped) to 64kbps which is as fast as dial-up. Unmetered content will also unfortunately be shaped.

Remember with bigpond you are free to change plans once a month to reflect your usage habits. However the highest plan currently available is 25GB.

Why Not satellite services as well?

Unfortunately, the cost of providing a satellite service to a consumer or business, added in the limited amount of backhaul (backhaul is like a very heavy freight train, the more locomotives at the front the more wagons it can pull) available, means it is not affordable to provide this service.

 

*Please note, while all care has been taken in compiling BIRRR documents, we recommend that you check with your ISP regarding unmetering.  As the #datadrought mainly impacts mobile broadband and satellite customers we have focussed on unmetering for these technologies.  Your provider may have other sites that are unmetered.  Thanks to BIRRR members  Julie Stott & Kye Rosendale for assistance in compiling this document.  

 

 

 

NBN Sky Muster Satellite – the Facts

img_4434

Every residence in Australia will be able to access some form of NBN – either FIXED, FIXED WIRELESS or SATELLITE (also referred to as LTSS and Sky Muster) by 2020.  Sky Muster (Satellite) services became available in April 2016, interim nbn satellite services (ISS) have now ceased.

You can see what type of nbn you are mapped for here: NBN Rollout MAP

NBN Sky Muster Explained

There is lots of misinformation and myths surrounding the nbn rollout, you can read about some of them here:   Myths About NBN Sky Muster 

REMEMBER:

  • Every Australian residence will be eligible for a nbn connection – even if you live really remotely.
  • If you are currently using another form of internet such as mobile broadband, you are still eligible for nbn.
  • Each residence is mapped for nbn, even if you have several houses on your property.
  • If you are receiving an nbn Fixed Wireless or Satellite service, please keep your traditional landline, you do NOT have to switch your voice service, regardless of what you may be told by your existing provider.
  • Sky Muster performs very differently to the old interim satellite. 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.
  • HOW TO CONNECT

nbn Sky Muster Satellite connections are available now.

Choose your Sky Muster provider here.

Read our Preparing for Sky Muster document.

  • 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.

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 Sky Muster Satellites have a life span of around 16 years.

  • DATA & PRICING  

Data Limits are up to individual RSP’s (service providers) in line with nbn fair use policy.  Internet service providers 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. Check out the BIRRR comparison of Sky Muster providers to see what data allowances you can access.

Sky Muster Satellite data allowances are split into Peak & Off Peak Times.

  • OFF PEAK Times*: 1am – 7am
  • PEAK Times*: 7am – 1am.
  • Hours apply to your local time zone.

*Governed by nbn™ – so will be the same with every provider.

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

  • nbn SKY MUSTER FAIR USE POLICY                     

The nbn™ Sky Muster™ satellite service Fair Use Policy is in place to help ensure fair access to the service – especially during peak usage times. This Fair Use Policy applies between nbn and the provider.

Your provider will likely have a separate Fair Use Policy which applies to your premises – as satellite capacity is a limited resource. Some providers may have less capacity, which may not be noticed during off-peak times. But during peak hours, when there is more traffic, congestion may occur if your provider does not have enough network capacity- this can lead to slower speeds and the occasional ‘buffering’. 

nbn™ Sky Muster Fair Use Policy

  • nbn co requires each customer to limit their Data Usage to no more than 150 GB in any four week period.
  • Furthermore, nbn co requires each customer to limit their Peak Hour Data Usage to no more than 75 GB in any four week period.
  • nbn co requires all RSPs to limit their average customer Peak Hour Data Usage to no more than 30 GB of downloads and no more than 5 GB of uploads in any four week period.
  • SPEED

Sky Muster has delivered significantly improved speeds and capacity to remote and regional areas compared to what was previously available on the Interim Satellite Service (ISS). A Fair Use Policy applies on the service to ensure that performance and quality of service standards are not degraded by high-volume users. Sky Muster offers peak wholesale download speeds of up to 25Mbps and upload speeds of up to 5 Mbps. Consult with your provider as to what speed tier will best suit you.

Speeds actually achieved over the Sky Muster network, depend 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

Once you place an order for Sky Muster with your chosen provider, a nbn technician will make an appointment to install the  equipment needed (a roof or pole mounted dish and an internal modem).    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 as each provider currently differs.  If you require wifi from your Sky Muster service you will need to have a compatible router, contact your provider to discuss your options.

SM1

  • VOICE

Homes and businesses with Sky Muster connections 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.

It is important to remember copper and traditional phone services (such as HCRC, Radio phones & NGWL) 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.  BIRRR recommends keeping your existing landline.

Footnote: All information compiled from BIRRR discussions with NBN contacts & NBN website, and is current as at 17/08/18

NBN SKY MUSTER FACTS DOCUMENT prepared by Kristy Sparrow for BIRRR updated 17/08/18

NBN ‘FAIR USE’ policy & actions

NBN Co’s ‘FAIR USE’ POLICY & ACTIONS (compiled by BIRRR)

Screenshot of section of NBN Co’s ‘Fair Use Policy’ from their website*:

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 11.18.42 am

Until earlier this year, Interim Satellite Service (ISS) customers were offered up to 60GB/month data plans by Retail Service Providers (RSP).

NBN Co deemed these plans to be excessive, and in February this year (2015) NBN Co moved to enforce its fair use policy for customers on the Interim Satellite Service.

As reported by computerworld.com.au^:

A briefing document for retail service providers (dated 30 January) indicates that starting in December 2015, NBN Co moved to have RSPs that sold ISS access to restrict individual customers’ usage to “no more than 50GB download per 4 week rolling aggregate of usage, measured weekly (the Threshold download limit) so as to facilitate RSP compliance with the ISS Fair Use Policy.”

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 11.39.59 am

“If RSPs continue to not comply with the Fair Use Policy, then NBN Co will exercise its rights under the WBA [Wholesale Broadband Agreement] by limiting identified services (users exceeding Threshold download limit) from February 2015 if this becomes necessary,” the document states.

 

Since this time, the ‘shaping’ of end users has increased dramatically, with NBN stepping in (on occasion) where there ISS providers have failed to ‘respond’.

A new ‘rolling four week’ measure of the end customer’s data usage has also been enforced (on top of the ‘billing month’ generally enforced by the ISS provider). Now ANY four week period can be used as a measure by NBN to locate ‘excessive data use’.

This new rule for ISS customers seems to have come into play around April.

As a matter of interest (and comparison), the NBN Co itself published figures from October 2014 showing the average data use of Australians to be 58GB/ month with those on NBN using an average of 67GB/month.<

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BIRRR are aware of the inequalities of this policy, and will continue working with NBN to address them.

*NBN Fair Use Document: Has since been removed from nbn website (1/12/16)

NBN ‘FAIR USE’ POLICY ACTIONS prepared by Amanda Salisbury for BIRRR updated 1/12/2016