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Optus, IPstar win A$300m NBN deal

Gilat to supply the kit

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Optus, Gilat and IPstar will provide interim satellite services to NBN Co, the Australian government-owned company building the National Broadband Network, from July 1 this year in a A$300 million deal.

NBN Co’s satellite and fixed-wireless services are intended to serve the seven per cent of the nation’s premises that its fibre optic cable rollout will be unable to reach. Although its wireless service isn't yet available, the government's decision to end services under the Australian Broadband Guarantee threatened to leave regional customers without services, driving the need for the stop-gap solution.

NBN Co plans to offer a wholesale satellite service capable of peak download speeds up to 6Mbps via participating retail service providers. Consumer prices will be determined by the retail service providers.

Optus secured a A$200 million contract from NBN Co for managed satellite services and some satellite capacity, while IPstar was awarded a secondary contract valued at just over A$100 million for additional capacity.

Israeli vendor Gilat has won a contract to supply its SkyEdge II VSAT to Optus as part of the NBN deal. Gilat’s contract is potentially worth up to A$120 million over five years, subject to final design and implementation of the fully expanded network.

Gilat will install, operate and maintain the network via a newly established Australian subsidiary, Gilat Satellite Networks Australia. The company hasn't had a direct presence in Australia since a brief foray into the territory in the late 1990s, but has long had VSAT supply contracts with Optus.

Once NBN Co launches its own two satellites in 2015 it will offer regional and remote Australians a 12Mbps service. The company will commence a trial of the new service to 200 customers this month with two retail service providers who are currently offering services via the Australian Broadband Guarantee program.

From July it plans to add up to 300 new end-user services per month during through to October 2011. From November NBN Co hopes to provide capacity for up to 1000 new installations per month. ®

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