Optus announced today it would further expand its satellite fleet providing services to Australia and New Zealand by launching the third D-series satellite. The new satellite will increase Optus’ fleet capacity by more than 30 percent.

Paul O’Sullivan, Chief Executive of Optus, said the deal showed Optus’ continued investment and commitment to provide the infrastructure to deliver state-of-the-art services via satellite across Australia and New Zealand.

“This announcement is another example of Optus making a substantial investment to increase Australia’s communications capability. Optus’ satellite fleet delivers a unique communications capability for Australia and New Zealand which no other telecommunications company in Australia can match.”

“The decision to build a third D-series satellite follows continued demand for access, especially for television broadcast services, with icon companies such as FOXTEL signing up for additional services on the new Optus D3 satellite,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

Kim Williams, FOXTEL Chief Executive, said that as the customer demand for FOXTEL services continues to grow, this deal with Optus will provide the platform for subscription television services in Australia for the next decade and beyond.

“Optus’ D3 satellite provides capacity for FOXTEL to deliver new services to our customers on our direct-to-home satellite platform including high definition content,” Mr Williams said. Orbital Sciences Corporation of the United States , the manufacturer of the Optus D1 and D2 satellites, was confirmed as the manufacturer of the Optus D3 satellite.

Paul Sheridan , Head of Optus Satellite, said Optus has been leading the way in satellite-based communication services in Australia for over 20 years.

“This additional satellite cements Optus’ position as the industry leader, as the business goes from strength to strength with one of the youngest satellite fleets in operation.

“With three D-series Satellites we will be well placed to meet the demand for fixed and broadcast satellite services, which is growing ahead of our earlier expectations.

“Optus is positioned to provide additional services to all our satellite customers; growth opportunities to the ethnic services broadcast sector; and additional in-orbit redundancy for customers out to the year 2020 and beyond,” he said.

The Optus D3 satellite is planned to be delivered in 2009. The new satellite will increase Optus’ overall investment in the D-series satellite program to over A$600 million.

Media contact:

Melissa Favero
Optus Corporate Affairs
Tel: (02) 9342 7850

Note to Editor

Optus launched the first of the D-series satellites by Arianespace from French Guiana South America in October 2006.

The Optus D2 satellite is planned to be launched in late 2007 by Arianespace from French Guiana , South America .

The Optus D2 satellite will provide for continuity of service and growth for Optus B3 customers as that satellite comes to the end of its useful life.

The Optus D-series satellites deliver direct-to-home television and high definition television, broadband and VSAT services.

Optus has been providing satellite communications to people living in rural and regional Australia through the Australian Government’s Higher Bandwidth Incentive Scheme (HiBIS) and the Broadband Connect program. Optus expects to continue to provide VSAT services under the Australian Government’s recently announced Broadband Guarantee.