Sky Muster™ Plus to bring data relief to regional Australians

Regional Australians receive more good news as NBN Co continues to improve fast broadband value to the bush.

At NBN Co, we are committed to delivering better customer experience for all Australians on the nbn™ access network – now and in the future.

As part of this, we continually seek – and listen to – feedback from users connected to our network, our retail partners, and industry bodies to deliver ongoing enhancements across all our access technologies.

Since launching services on our satellite platform in April 2016, we have made several enhancements to the offering to address users’ requirements – particularly the desire for more data.

In October 2017, we doubled the maximum per-service monthly wholesale data limits over the Sky Muster™ satellite (from 150GB to 300GB per month) and increased the average peak download allowance that internet providers can offer to users by 50 per cent (from 30GB to 45GB).

Since then, we have continued to innovate and explore more ways to improve the service.

Coming soon: Sky Muster™ Plus

I am delighted to announce that in 2019, we are scheduled to launch a new Sky Muster™ Plus service to help meet the ever-growing need for more data.

There are two key improvements being made through this product evolution:

  • More data capacity – Data allowance exemptions will be provided for key functional uses of the nbn™ access network. This means that at a wholesale level, nbn will not count the use of essential internet services – including email, general web-browsing and common critical smartphone and PC operating system software updates – towards monthly data allowances.‡
  • Enjoy supplementary burst above the wholesale download speed – This new product will help deliver faster download speeds by providing access to a wholesale 25Mbps product that, furthermore can now boost above 25Mbps when applications and network support allows. This may help key software and services to deliver even better performance.*

What this means for an average user is that when they exhaust their monthly data allowance, wholesale download speeds will not be slowed down for regular web activities like accessing emails or internet banking.

Activities such as gaming and video streaming will continue to contribute towards the overall monthly data limit of users and, once the cap is reached, will be speed-shaped down as they are now. However the unmetered essential services can continue to function unshaped*.

This will give people in regional and rural Australia the peace of mind that emailing your loved ones or accessing internet banking need not slow down once your monthly data limit has been exceeded.

One part of a big picture

Sky Muster™ satellite ground station in Bourke, New South Wales.

The launch of Sky Muster™ Plus is another demonstration of our unwavering commitment to regional and rural Australia, and we will continue to invest and innovate across our regional access technologies.

Our team continues to consult with industry on a number of additional wholesale product updates in the pipeline, including the previously announced business grade satellite services that is expected to be available from the first half of 2019, as well as additional services to enable remote telehealth and distance education.

We also recently announced an additional $800 million investment in capacity upgrades on our Fixed Wireless network between now and 2022.

A big win for the bush

Regional Australians are well placed to take advantage of the economic and social benefits that the nbn™ access network helps to enable.

Thanks to the early prioritisation of our network rollout to regional areas, all but a few homes and business are in design, construction or are able to connect to a service over the nbn™ access network today.

The Connecting Australia report from AlphaBeta has revealed the significant impact fast broadband is having on the lives of regional and remote Australians by comparing areas where the nbn™ rollout is more than 90 per cent complete and areas where the nbn™ rollout is less than 10 per cent complete. 

Some of the key findings at the time of the study include:

Employment: The nbn™ access network is estimated to have helped create an additional 1,750 jobs in regional Australia by the 2017 financial year and this employment impact is forecast to reach up to 20,000 jobs by FY21.

Flexible work: Annual growth in people working from home in regional areas with access to the nbn™ access network is significant, at 2.2 per cent per year from 2011–2016 versus a decline in the annual growth rate of 1.1 per cent in regional Australia without access to the nbn™ access network.

Business growth: The growth of new businesses in regions connected to the nbn™ access network accelerated at twice the pace of the national average with up to 5,400 additional new businesses created in 2017.

What I am very pleased about and proud of is that more women are choosing to become their own boss in regions that have connected to the nbn™ access network. The growth in the number of self-employed women is twice as high as the average growth of self-employment (of both men and women), and 23 times higher than growth in self-employment by women in non nbn™-connected regions.

Inspirational and entrepreneurial women like Shelly Hawkins of Trek West who, thanks to the Sky Muster™ satellite service, can market their business to the rest of the world whilst operating on their remote property five hours north west of Mt Isa.^

Shelly Hawkins’ story can be found here: 

At NBN Co, we have a clear purpose to connect Australia and bridge the digital divide. Our continued investment in further upgrades and new services for regional and rural Australia are key to helping us deliver on this.

As the regional rollout nears completion, we look forward to seeing more stories like Shelly’s to show how fast broadband can change lives and drive innovation in areas which need access the most. 

* nbn provides wholesale services to phone and internet providers. nbn™ wholesale speed tiers available to providers vary depending on the access technology in an end user’s area. An end user’s experience, including the speeds actually achieved over the nbn™ broadband access network, depends on the nbn™ access network technology and configuration over which services are delivered to their premises, whether they are using the internet during the busy period, and some factors outside of nbn's control (like their equipment quality, software, chosen broadband plan, signal reception, or how their provider designs its network). Speeds may also be impacted by network congestion on the nbn™ Fixed Wireless network, including during busy periods. Sky Muster™ satellite end users may also experience latency.

‡ Some limits may apply. For example, software downloads may be speed-limited in busy periods.

^ nbn is very happy with Shelly’s experience with the nbn™ broadband access network. Of course, end user experiences may vary. An end user’s experience, including the speeds actually achieved over the nbn™ broadband access network, depends on the nbn™ access network technology and configuration over which services are delivered to their premises, whether they are using the internet during the busy period, and some factors outside of nbn’s control (like their equipment quality, software, chosen broadband plan, signal reception, or how their provider designs its network). Speeds may also be impacted by network congestion on the nbn™ Fixed Wireless network, including during busy periods. Sky Muster™ satellite end users may also experience latency.