By Tony Bundrock, CEO Activ8me
12 January 2015
To create a truly connected country, the vast Australian landscape needs a range of technology solutions to meet its diverse needs. Australians now expect constant connectivity in our daily lives, and it is hard to believe that it was not until the late 1990s that Australia-wide satellite TV began to beam down to remote users with the advent of AUSTAR, and not until much later that robust satellite internet connectivity came to all reaches of Australia.
For those living in cities, it is often impossible to imagine that our regional counterparts are still struggling to obtain basic digital connections. This is why satellite services provide the backbone to this continent’s online capabilities in terms of getting to the remote customers who are not served by any other technology.
High-speed satellite services will be provided as part of the nbn project to the 3% of premises across the country that are unable to connect to the nbn network via alternate nbn technology options such as fibre or fixed wireless.
In the early 1980’s the Australian Government launched AUSSAT (which later became the Optus satellite service) with satellites that were used for both military and civilian satellite communications, and also delivered telephony and television services to remote outback communities.
We have come a long way from there taking a huge leap forward with mobile communications to service regional communication needs. The most significant shift has been moving on from the need for basic telephony for all, to broadband services for all and understanding that copper can only go so far.
With our deep regional experience Activ8me has grown to become the pre-eminent satellite ISP in rural and remote Australia. When Australian Private Networks was renamed to Activ8me in 2005, we were providing basic satellite services to regional customers- allowing them to get connected albeit at relatively slow speeds. As the digital divide widened between city and country, by late 2006, the Government had developed the Australian Broadband Guarantee (ABG) an initiative designed to help residential and SMEs access high-quality broadband services regardless of where they were located and particularly in remote areas. Activ8me was very innovative with the ABG, providing discounted pricing, fast (UnleashedTM) speeds and more data to get customers online and feel part of the wider world.
I estimate that since launching we have connected 40-45,000 homes in regional areas. When we started we were also responsible for all the installation staff and ongoing service technicians. This helped us build our expertise and become the most significant player in the space.
In 2010, the nbn Interim Satellite Service (ISS) was set up to facilitate the transition from the ABG to the impending commercial launch of the nbn long-term satellite service (LTSS), which will be provided by two new nbn Ka-band broadband satellites.
The Activ8me team are proud to have also worked closely with former Communications Minister Senator Conroy, who regularly came to our offices to see demonstrations of high speed satellite data transmissions and sought our recommendations on how satellite services should be delivered to the bush. Our experience in the satellite arena influenced his decision to develop the impending satellite system with the first of the two Ka-band broadband satellites, Sky Muster, being launched into orbit on the 1st October 2015.
With the advent of two new dedicated nbn broadband satellites which will deliver up to a combined 135Gbps of capacity, compared to the current nbn Interim Satellite Service (ISS) with less than 4Gbps of capacity, these satellites are designed to deliver download speeds of up to 25Mbps – around five times what people are able to access on the ISS.
Since Sky Muster’s flawless launch into orbit we have had a very positive response from existing customers who want to get onto the new nbn service. We have hit the ground running on pre-registrations and interested new customers showing the pent-up demand for a quality satellite internet connection with larger data allowances as the dynamic demands of our consumers have changed and evolved.
The team at Activ8me are gearing up for a very connected regional Australia in 2016!
If you haven’t yet registered your interest for updates on the new nbn satellite, you can still do so by clicking here. We are taking registrations from everyone, so if you have friends and/or neighbours interested in a new satellite service, please encourage them to register as well.
If you have problems clicking the link above you can register for updates by:
Or, go to the Activ8me website > Click ‘Contact Us’ > Select ‘Register Interest New NBN Satellite’