PARIS — Australian broadband provider NBN Co. on July 22 ceded to consumer pressure and agreed to provide interim satellite service on Thaicom’s IPStar satellite for up to 9,000 additional consumers until NBN’s own satellites are launched in 2015.
The decision, which came just two months after Sydney-based NBN refused new satellite subscriptions, will be good news for Thaicom and its ground terminal provider, Gilat Satellite Networks of Petah Tikva, Israel.
IPStar and Gilat had already filled their NBN-ordered Interim Satellite Service subscriber quota of 44,000, with subscribers signing on faster than NBN had expected.
Under the new policy, up to 9,000 residences — with a limit of one subscription per residence — in rural Australia and Tasmania will be allowed to connect to the IPStar service as part of the NBN Co. Satellite Support Scheme. Thaicom and IPStar will deliver the service. Only those residences located in areas reserved for satellite service by NBN will be allowed to take advantage of the offer.
NBN is deploying the world’s most comprehensive broadband network, using fiber, terrestrial wireless and satellite technologies. The company has assigned each locale a specific type of service.
IPStar uses Ku-band to deliver consumer broadband to households. NBN’s service uses Ka-band via two large all-Ka-band satellites on order from Space Systems/Loral of Palo Alto, California, and scheduled for launch starting in 2015.
NBN said earlier this year that it might delay the launch of the second satellite to provide enough time to assess take-up rates and to optimize the second spacecraft if needed. The company said it might elect to extend the period between the two launches to a year from the current six months.
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