National Farmers' Federation

Storm clouds on the horizon for data drought

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) says satellite internet users will be relieved by today’s announcement that the NBN’s first long term satellite is now operational.
The Sky Muster satellite launched late last year is available to subscribers as of today, and customers are encouraged to contact their internet service providers to get connected.
NFF President Brent Finlay said users of the congested and dysfunctional Interim Satellite Service know all-too-well the pain of not being able to download e-mail or access internet banking.
“Our expectation is that users of this new satellite will enjoy vastly improved connection speeds and download limits – opening up new opportunities for farmers to participate in the digital era,” Mr Finlay said.
“Digital technology has huge capacity to improve the way we farm, and quality connectivity is fundamental to unlocking that potential.
However, the NFF has cautioned those frustrated by slow internet to expect to wait for their new satellite connection.
“NBN are telling us they will connect around 5,000 properties a month, scaling up to 10,000 by the end of this year. On that basis it will take some time to connect the tens of thousands of users on the current satellite, plus many more expected to join the new service.”
The NFF also reiterated concerns about managing congestion on the new service.
“Over time the 250,000 premises connected to the new satellites will chew up the available capacity. The response can’t be the same as it was under the interim satellite which starved rural households of data,” Mr Finlay said.
“We need a commitment from government that investment in the fixed wireless network will continue – to transition people off the satellite as demand grows.
“The launch of the new satellite product is an exciting day for rural Australia and, we hope, welcome relief from the data drought putting a handbrake on farm businesses.”

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