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Bourke to host NBN satellite ground station

Date
Essential gateway .. the proposed satellite ground station at Bourke will provide up to 20,000 people with broadband speeds of up to 12 megabits a second.

Essential gateway .. the proposed satellite ground station at Bourke will provide up to 20,000 people with broadband speeds of up to 12 megabits a second. Photo: Angela Wylie

The north-western NSW town of Bourke has been picked as one of 10 towns across Australia to host a satellite ground station as part of the national broadband network.

''This ground station will act as an essential satellite gateway, helping deliver fast broadband to rural and remote communities across Australia,'' the Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, said in a statement yesterday.

The ground station at Bourke will provide between 15,000 and 20,000 people in homes, farms and businesses with broadband speeds of up to 12 megabits a second from 2015. It will be joined by a ground station in Wolumla, around 15km north-west of Merimbula on the NSW south coast.

Regional and rural Australia was a priority for the rollout of the national broadband network, Senator Conroy said. NBN Co, the government enterprise charged with upgrading the nation's broadband network, now runs an interim satellite service before the launch of two satellites in 2015.

Under the government's $36 billion project, NBN Co will deliver fibre optic cable network services to 93 per cent of homes, schools, hospitals and businesses by 2021.

Another 4 per cent of premises will connect via fixed-wireless services and the remaining 3 per cent will be on satellite services.

In April, NBN Co announced Wolumla on the south coast would be the first site to host a satellite ground station.

AAP

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39 comments

  • No mention of the latency on a satellite link. I currently get Foxtel through a satellite and it is a few seconds behind the TV that is plugged into the antenna. While it may download the data quickly there will be a few seconds delay between clicking on a link and getting the resulting page. What a waste of money this so called NBN is. Or are they going to cache pages on the great big censorship firewall that Labor wants to build for quicker response times?

    Commenter
    Andrew
    Location
    Western Sydney
    Date and time
    May 11, 2012, 11:54AM
    • I'm surprised the previous person was so negative. People outside of metro areas have been waiting for decent internet for years. I don't think comments made by a person sitting in an armchair in suburbia are very relevant to the debate.

      Commenter
      Harold
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      May 11, 2012, 3:32PM
    • So you will let those who basically now have nothing - or dial-up - kept the same so you can have a good whinge?

      Commenter
      DC
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      May 11, 2012, 6:13PM
    • The main reason your satellite TV lags, is the satellite signal is encoded (probably a digital encoding, I presume). To encode the signal efficiently, Foxtel needs to buffer up a few seconds of TV before transmitting it via sattelite.

      The actual time of flight for data via satellite is up to 500 milliseconds. Realistically, satellite internet users experience a round trip time of between 1 and 1.5 seconds.

      That means it *can* take up to 1.5 seconds between clicking a link and the page beginning to appear. Using a decent browser (like Chrome) will reduce that to virtually nothing, because they fetch ahead.

      Once a page starts transferring, it will come done snappily even over NBN's satellite connections.

      Only a few thousand households, who won't have fibre links will be affected anyway, and they'll typically be better off with a high-latency, high-throughput connection than the unreliable dial-up connections they'd have at the moment.

      The 99% of the population who gets fibre will be getting better than 10ms latency.

      Commenter
      chovain
      Date and time
      May 11, 2012, 8:51PM
    • Neither of your comments make sense. Firstly Foxtel stream all channels simultaneously. I'm not sure the reason for the lag, but it is not the satellite changing the channel for you! Perhaps its the box taking the time to decode of the new channel?
      Secondly, why would a caching firewall speed up latency on a satellite connection? Unless the cache server is on the satellite itself, up to or above 90% of the latency is travelling to and from orbit.
      Doing a bit of digging I've found the following from nbnco's website:

      People on satellite services will be able to use most applications that are available over fibre such as web browsing, file downloads, social media such as Facebook, email and VoIP. Satellite signals have to travel from the home to a satellite, and back down to the ground before being sent to their RSP. These signals travel at the speed of light.
      However, given that satellites are up to 37,000km in space, the distance the signals must travel adds a small delay to the service delivery. This means that applications such as on-line games that depend on instantaneous responses are affected.

      So whilst I share your frustration on lack information regarding latency - considering it is suitable for voip it sounds much better than current satellite services...
      This is the Interim Satellite Service. The Ka service delivered in 2015 will have higher capacity.

      Commenter
      Slaziar
      Date and time
      May 11, 2012, 9:47PM
    • In lots of places there is no other option for an internet connection than satellite. You get a satellite connection or you get nothing. My parents farm is a good example, too far from the exchange for ADSL in any form, marginal mobile reception even on Telstra's NextG so no good for a mobile broadband connection, Telstra has even told them so when the option was investigated. So it's satellite or satellite. Amazingly Skype which is affected quite a lot by lag does work quite OK on a satellite link.

      Commenter
      phill
      Date and time
      May 11, 2012, 11:08PM
    • We have entered an age where our society is now wholly digitally dependent and the true wonder of what this amazing future holds is yet to be realised.

      Future proofing our digital communication needs is as necessary as roads and rail and it ensures Australia will be competitive and relevant in the new digital economies of the future.

      This isn't about politics, this is about Australia. Yes, it's a lot of money but it's a truly immense and complex task. It's not apparent to most now, but the NBN is perhaps the important infrastructure project in our nations history.

      So put away your bitter partisanship and petty gripes. Free your selfish mind to ponder the marvellous opportunities the NBN will afford us, but more importantly, our children. They are worth every cent, Andrew.

      Commenter
      Jessica
      Location
      Mosman
      Date and time
      May 11, 2012, 11:53PM
    • Andrew, I am sure people who lives in the...back of Bourke would be very happy with some delay rather than nothing at all. While we are spoiled with good internet services, spare a though for people in the outback, I am sure your inexpensive LNP sponsored wireless system also have drop outs and latency, or are you going to build one gigantic wireless system which done away with relay and switches ?

      Commenter
      Mais51
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      May 12, 2012, 4:35AM
    • Afternoon Andrew, judging by your locale, Satellite should be the least of your worries once the NBN swing past your house. Wont you be getting Fibre?

      Commenter
      DenisPC9
      Location
      New England Region
      Date and time
      May 12, 2012, 12:03PM
    • whats the alternative? Smoke signals they use now? At least they are aiming high not the "cheapo but fixit again later" model that your mate Rabbit proposes.

      Commenter
      andy56
      Location
      melbourne ntheast
      Date and time
      May 12, 2012, 12:04PM

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