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New nbn satellite to close digital divide

Better broadband for Australians living in rural and remote areas is a step closer today with the launch of the first of nbn's two world-class communication satellites.

nbn's Sky Muster satellite blasted off from the Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana early this morning, heading for its orbital slot around 36,000 kilometres above Australia.

The nbn long term satellite service will be a game changer for many remote Australians, offering broadband services at ADSL2 comparable speeds for the first time.

nbn's high-capacity satellites will ultimately cover more than 400,000 homes and businesses, providing wholesale speeds of up to 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) download and 5 Mbps upload across Australia and its remote territories.

The nbn satellite service will help to bridge the digital divide between Australia's cities and regions and is a key part of the Government's plan to make sure Australians who need it most have access to better broadband.

The launch of Sky Muster is a huge achievement for nbn and its partners and a critical step in bringing the nbn to Australians no matter where they live.

The second satellite will be launched early next year and user connections will be available in the first half of 2016 following a period of equipment testing and customer trials.

nbn will now carry out testing on the new satellite and work with the retail providers who will offer services to customers next year.

Sky Muster and her sister satellite are among the largest commercial satellites ever launched. Each will project 101 spot beams providing coverage to Australia and to five offshore locations: Christmas, Cocos, Lord Howe, Norfolk and Macquarie Islands.

nbn's satellites will be supported by a network of 10 ground stations which the company has already constructed in specific locations across the country.

The designing, building and launching of Sky Muster was a huge multi-national effort involving teams at nbn, Arianespace, SSL, ViaSat, Optus and Ericsson.

The Government remains committed to rolling out the NBN to all Australians by 2020.

For more information visit: www.nbnco.com.au

Media contact: Luisa Anderson | 0417 309 812 | Luisa.anderson [at] communications.gov.au