As a result of strong uptake for NBN Co’s Interim Satellite Service (ISS), iiNet will reportedly withdraw its highest download offering, ZDNet Australia claims, with the alternative operator’s CEO citing a lack of capacity on offer on the service. With 34,600 customers having signed up to ISS as at end-June 2013 – of which around 6,000 were believed to be connected via an iiNet plan – the network is understood to have a capacity for 48,000, and in May this year former Australian Communications Minister Stephen Conroy suggested in Budget Estimates that capacity is expected to be exceeded in early 2014. The former minister also downplayed suggestions that capacity could be increased by acquiring capacity on existing satellites, stating: ‘If we were to buy all the remaining capacity on IPStar and other satellites, we could potentially increase our user numbers to about 75,000. To add about 7,000 new services, the cost would be roughly AUD86 million (USD77 million), to add 17,000 new services, the cost is estimated at AUD143 million, and to buy all 27,000 of these services, the cost is estimated at AUD206 million.’
Meanwhile, as previously reported by CommsUpdate, NBN Co will launch two new satellites in 2015, which are currently under construction by Space Systems/Loral. In March 2013 it selected France-based Arianespace to launch them in a deal worth up to AUD300 million (USD306 million) following a two-year procurement process.