Data boost for satellite NBN users

By: Andrew Hobbs

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Email, software updates and general browsing won't count towards data usage under NBN Co's new Sky Muster Plus

Data boost for satellite NBN users
The Sky Muster satellites work with monitoring stations such as this one in Wolumla, NSW


Retail communications companies are expected to roll out new plans after NBN Co announced an initiative that will stop counting the use of essential internet services towards monthly data allowances.

Email, general web browsing and critical software updates will no longer count against monthly data allowances for those using the new Sky Muster Plus product, which will be available for eligible users in NBN Co’s satellite network footprint.

"This means when a user exhausts their monthly data allowance, wholesale download speeds will not be slowed down for regular web activities like accessing emails or internet banking," NBN Co says.

"Use of other web traffic, however, including streaming video and online gaming, will continue to be subject to monthly data allowances, with speeds being shaped if data limits are exceeded."

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NBN Co adds that the Sky Muster package will also provide access to a wholesale 25Mbps product that can now burst above 25Mbps wholesale speed when applications and network support allow.

The initiative applies to customers in rural and regional areas who use NBN Co’s Sky Muster satellites for their broadband connectivity.

NBN provides the infrastructure for which retail service providers then sell plans, with an NBN Co spokeswoman telling TradeFarmMachinery they expected the companies would create new plans "from around mid-next year".

"We go through industry consultation with our retail service providers and that helps us to work with them to understand pricing points and the back end systems before the retail service provider launches out with their plans," she says.

"We know is going to be critically important to not only those people operating businesses at home but also to farmers who are looking to up their skills or up their technology on their farms."

It comes after the company doubled the maximum monthly wholesale data limits on Sky Muster satellite services (from 150GB to 300GB per month) and also increased the average peak data allowance that phone and internet providers can offer to users by 50 per cent (from 30GB to 45GB) last year.

NBN Co’s CEO Stephen Rue says the changes come after the company set out to listen to consumers and industry about what it could do to improve the customer experience.

"The new Sky Muster Plus product is designed to give regional and rural Australians peace of mind knowing that essential internet services, like emailing loved ones or accessing internet banking, should not slow down if their monthly data limit has been exceeded," he says.

"Our team is also continuing to consult with industry on a number of additional wholesale product updates on the Sky Muster satellite service, including a regional enterprise service as well as additional applications to enable remote telehealth and distance education."

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