Bourke one step closer to NBN - after a three-year wait

Bourke has been named as the second regional town to house a ground station satellite.

Bourke will be home to a satellite ground station to help it get on-board the National Broadband Network (NBN), but the remote NSW town will have have to wait up to three years until it is connected.

The ground station will help between 15,000 and 20,000 Australians access broadband connectivity of speeds up to 12Mbps through a combination fibre to the home, fixed wireless or satellite services.

The ground station will comprise a one-storey building with up to three 13m-in-diameter satellite dishes. Construction is slated to begin next year and will be built on an existing industrial lot.

“We chose Bourke because it was an ideal location with an ideal climate," NBN Co’s program director, satellites, Matt Dawson said in a statement. "The town is also located close to reliable power and other infrastructure including the NBN’s core fibre transit network – the main fibre transmission lines linking towns and our exchanges.”

Wolumla, near Merimbula on the South Coast of NSW, was last month named as the first town in Australia to house a ground station satellite.

Communications minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, said in a statement that Federal Government was prioritising regional and rural Australia for the rollout of the NBN.

"The majority of NBN construction has taken place in regional and rural Australia, while NBN Co has brought forward the introduction of wireless and satellite services so that people in the bush can get access to better broadband as soon as possible,” he said in a statement.

NBN Co launched an interim satellite service (ISS) in July last year in over 6,000 homes and businesses in remote areas of Australia. The services were launched through retail service providers Bordernet, Clear Networks, Harbour IT and SkyMesh, with another two providers launched in July – Activ8me and Reachnet.

The ISS was targeting a wholesale broadband service of 6Mbps for downlinks and 1Mbps for uplinks.

Conroy has also tried to dispel fears regional Australians will pay more for NBN access than their capital city counterparts.

“Through the NBN, the government will also deliver uniform national wholesale pricing. This means that people living in Bourke, Walgett, and Cobar will pay the same prices for NBN services as people in Sydney, Newcastle, and Wollongong,” he said.

A total of 10 towns in Australia will house satellite ground station and is part of NBN Co’s long term satellite service, which is targeting a speed of 12Mbps in remote areas of Australia.

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