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.