Optus Networks Pty Limited has selected Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd. to install, operate and maintain access to a SkyEdge II “very small aperture terminal” (VSAT) network, for the Australian government’s National Broadband Network Company’s (NBN Co) interim satellite service.
NBN Co has a commitment to offer connectivity to regional and rural locations via satellite technology where geographic location impedes the ability to provide either fiber or advanced wireless connectivity, Gilat says in a written statement. The interim satellite service is a first stage solution, planned to provide up to 6Mbps download and 1Mbps upload broadband services to eligible Australian households, small business and indigenous communities.
The agreement with Optus provides for an initial network of 11 SkyEdge II hubs and 20,000 SkyEdge II VSATs are expected to be deployed within three years, Gilat says. The agreement stipulates a possible expansion of the network to include hubs and up to 48,000 VSATs. Gilat’s new Australian subsidiary, Gilat Satellite Networks Australia Pty Ltd., will undertake responsibility for end-to-end VSAT installation, as well as hub maintenance and operation in three geographical locations, for a period of five years. The agreement represents a potential value of up to $120 million, subject to final design and implementation of the fully expanded network.
The hubs are planned to be commissioned and VSAT service to commence operation in 2011. The satellite network will utilize Optus’ existing Ku capacity and IPSTAR’s multi-spotbeam capacity available over Australia.