What is the nbn Sky Muster Educational Port ?

A Sky Muster Education Port is a dedicated port in the nbn modem (NTD) , specifically designed for distance education and home school students. The port enables each eligible student to access a set amount of data for education.

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 preschoolprimary and secondary school who are either home schooled or who are enrolled in approved distance education schools and are mapped to receive nbn Sky Muster. Tertiary students and students educated at state schools should ask their local federal MP to advocate for inclusion for an education port.  BIRRR will continue to advocate for this, along with the Federal ICPA

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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 & SA

If you are a QLD or SA distance education family you will (updated 29/8/18):

  1. Need your Student ID to access the port.
  2. You MUST apply for Sky Muster with a provider FIRST.
  3. Tell your provider that you also require an educational port.

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

If you are a QLD Home School Family you will need your Student ID number and can order an education port direct with your chosen provider. Please note, it can take several weeks to be approved.

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

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

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 (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 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.

NT & TAS

As yet details of how the educational port will work have not been announced, Sky Muster is currently being trialled in distance education classrooms in the NT, however the NT is still operating under the STARS Satellite system. 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.

**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.

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

You have one port on the NBN S-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

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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

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 regularly to discuss how to best meet the needs of remote students. You can read more about the need for such a group here.

 

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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 29/8/18. 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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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

 

NBN Sky Muster Satellite – the Facts

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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.

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  • 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