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NBN signs $280m deal with US firm for satellite dishes
13/07/2012 - The builder of the national broadband network (NBN) has signed a $280 million contract with a US-based firm to manufacture satellite dishes and other technical equipment.
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Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced the contract with NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley in Townsville on Thursday.
ViaSat Inc will build two 13.5 metre-wide satellite antennas for each of the NBN's 10 satellite ground stations around Australia, as well as 200,000 satellite dishes for households and infrastructure for the network's data centres.
The investment would ensure as many as 200,000 homes and businesses in some of the remotest parts of Australia were able to access fast, affordable and reliable broadband, Gillard said.
Quigley said the US firm would provide ground equipment to support the satellite service.
The announcement follows NBN's contract with US firm Space Systems/Loral to build two Ka-band broadband satellites, due to be launched six months apart in 2015.
The satellites will provide broadband services for the three per cent of Australians who live in remote areas of Australia.
"It will be designed to ensure those who live in the most geographically-isolated parts of the country are able to take advantage of the opportunities that the digital economy enables," Quigley said.
High-speed fibre optic broadband cable will be connected to 93 per cent of premises across Australia by 2021.
About four per cent will receive high-speed broadband services through fixed wireless satellite networks by 2015.
Gillard said the planning and design work on a fixed-wireless network would start in rural areas around the Queensland regional centres of Townsville, Mackay and Rockhampton.
About 30,000 homes and businesses will have access to the network in stages from late 2013.
The fixed wireless network and satellite services would offer download speeds of up to 12 megabytes a second, better than many people in metropolitan areas experienced now, Gillard said.
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