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Rural Australians to get Internet access in April

CANBERRA, Feb. 3 — Australians living in rural and regional areas will gain access to a high-speed Internet service – through the USD26-billion National Broadband Network (NBN) – as early as April, as senior executive said Wednesday.

Access to the NBN could make a life-changing difference to hundreds of thousands of Australians living in rural areas, who have been deprived of Internet access until now.

NBN Co General Manager Gavin Williams made assurances on Wednesday that the Sky Muster satellite, the NBN's first, will be able to meet demand.

"We've taken some extremely thorough steps to allocate capacity and give ourselves a mitigating buffer and ultimately we're comfortable with the allocation we've made," Williams said.

Access to the Sky Muster satellite will be limited exclusively to Australians living rurally, with urban Australians having to wait for the rest of the rollout.

Three Internet service providers, Harbor ISP, SkyMesh and Activ8me, will help trial the service with 200 users in the lead-up to access becoming commercially available in April when other Internet service providers (ISPs) are also expected to offer plans.

The plans available via the three ISPs trialing the service offer speeds up to 25 Mbps (megabits per second) download speed and 5 Mbps upload, compared to urban NBN users who can get download speeds up to 100 Mbps.

NBN Co claims that the Sky Muster satellite, launched into orbit from French Guiana in South America in October 2015, will be available to approximately 400,000 households and businesses across Australia. (PNA/Xinhua)


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