A new NBN Co business unit will be solely focused on technologies used to connect regional and remote communities, the company said today.
The division groups together the teams supporting its fixed wireless and Sky Muster satellite access technologies, and includes both engineering and operations.
Gavin Williams, who was formerly NBN Co’s executive general manager for product, has been appointed the company’s chief development officer, regional and remote.
“NBN Co has already delivered significant benefits for regional Australia, but we are absolutely committed to providing even greater access to broadband services throughout regional and remote Australia, helping to connect more homes and businesses in Australia’s regional towns and hard to reach places,” Williams said in a statement provided by NBN Co.
Some 48 per cent of data traffic on NBN Co’s network is outside metro areas, Williams said.
“Ensuring we continue to meet customer needs and raise the digital capability of regional and remote areas is an absolute priority.”
NBN Co said that Williams’ new role fulfilled a recommendation of the 2018 Regional Telecommunications Review. That report called on the company to “assign responsibility for improving and upgrading the fixed-wireless and satellite networks to an experienced member of the company’s senior executive management team.”
In its report, the committee acknowledged the work that NBN Co had done on its satellite service, including rolling out some 147 network fixes and optimisations after launch, but said that the “lived experiences of many Sky Muster users falls well short of their needs and expectations” and noted that the company had significantly revised down its expected take-up rate for Sky Muster.
NBN Co has also acknowledged challenges with its fixed wireless service, with the company last year unveiling an $800 million effort to address capacity problems.
NBN Co today also formally announced the launch of its business satellite services.
As detailed by Computerworld earlier this month, the company is initially offering two services. One is an Internet of Things (IoT) service, which supports speeds as low as 10/10Kbps per service, and another is a Virtual ISP offering for businesses with high levels of data traffic.
NBN Co is preparing to launch a third business satellite service next year: The Access Bandwidth Service is targeting enterprise customers that require committed information rates for critical applications.
“The business NBN satellite service is particularly well suited to businesses with larger network capacity requirements that operate in remote locations such as the oil, mining and gas industries,” Williams said. “Businesses will benefit from the service’s ability to offer business-grade services in eligible locations across the country.”