NBN Co, the company overseeing Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) project, is reportedly facing a three-month delay for the launch of its two Ka-band broadband satellites, according to ZDNet. It is understood that the delay comes as a result of Arianespace’s inability to find an appropriate launch partner for the first satellite, with NBN Co’s satellite director Matt Dawson cited as saying in a note to NBN Co staff: ‘As a result, Arianespace has assigned a new co-passenger, and anticipates launch in October-November 2015. This ensures NBN Co remains on track to launch its first satellite prior to the end of 2015 … While the company is keen to launch earlier and will continue to prepare for readiness early in the second half of the calendar year, NBN Co has acknowledged the later departure of NBN Co-1A could result in a delayed launch of its second satellite, NBN Co-1B, into 2016.’
As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Optus and IPSTAR were selected to provide interim satellite broadband services in rural and remote areas of the country in May 2011, while in February 2012 an AUD620 million (USD475 million) contract was awarded to Space Systems/Loral to construct two Ka-band broadband satellites, while US-based ViaSat was selected to provide ground equipment for the Long Term Satellite Service (LTSS) in July that year. Once launched, the two Ka-band satellites will be used to provide broadband services to roughly 3% of the population not within the NBN’s fixed network footprint, with the LTSS expected to be introduced in 2016.