Those in rural areas of Australia have long been pointing out the lack of health and medical resources they have compared to their urban counterparts.
One of the exciting opportunities of the National Broadband Network’s (nbn™) arrival, and particularly it’s Sky Muster satellite internet, was the potential to begin closing this gap. Another predicted benefit was the opportunity to save money for not only government operations, but every Australian accessing health services.
According to Martin Laverty, chief executive of the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia, the arrival of the nbn™ satellite service is welcome. He recently explained to the Senate Estimates the benefits and savings already realised from Sky Muster™:
“In the current financial year, we will pay $32,000 for access to ADSL broadband in Rockhampton. In the next financial year, we expect to spend $7000. That is a 78% reduction in our costs at Rockhampton for accessing broadband services because of the arrival of the NBN at that location,”
Royal Flying Doctor Service chief executive Martin Laverty, as quoted by ITWire.
Laverty also assured the public that the RFDS plans to make the most of these savings, and returning the revenue to their own services.
Basing on a special agreement with the nbn™, the organisation will have access to the nbn™ Sky Muster™ satellite service at a lower price.
“In the course of the last few months, we have been in close contact with NBN Co and we have agreed on a partnership as to how we are going to access the NBN as it is deployed gradually across the parts of Australia that we serve,”
Despite the declaration of a special pricing agreement, the RFDS noted they have yet to finalise pricing arrangements as the Sky Muster™ satellite service will have to be delivered through a chosen Retail Service Provider such as Activ8me.
In the coming months the nbn™ will be undergoing trials of deploying Sky Muster™ satellite technology through transportable antennas, to be outfitted through RFDS designated aircrafts and land vehicles.
A concept that will also be explored are designated “medical chest holders”, with a setof 100 commonly used medicines to be distributed across RFDS affiliated locations across regional and rural Australia.
One application already being planned involves video streaming for the designated chest holders, allowing education and support around the contents and their roles.
Mr Laverty stressed the need for the nbn™ in serving as a backbone for the development of TeleHealth across remote Australia.
“It is about the potential of being able to harness what is now available to deliver telehealth once we have a robust broadband service accessible to parts of remote Australia.”