Faster internet use looms with satellite service upgrade

FRASER Coast computer users who have been left in the dark ages by dodgy connections may soon be logging on with faster internet speeds.

The National Broadband Network Company will invest more than $34 million to upgrade its Interim Satellite Service (ISS) and extend commercial satellite services to rural areas, including Wide Bay.

"The upgrade will improve ISS connection speeds for subscribers and provide a new subsidy scheme for up to 9000 commercial satellite users," Member for Wide Bay Warren Truss, the Deputy Prime Minister, said.

"This will be welcome news for those people in Wide Bay who have been frustrated by their ISS broadband experience, citing problems with connection reliability and data transfer rates,'' he said.

"Each user will receive up to a third more capacity, enabling them to more reliably use the internet, email, and VOIP services during peak periods.

"For others in rural areas, a new subsidy scheme will allow households, businesses and primary producers to access commercial satellite broadband," Mr Truss said.

The scheme will subsidise the cost and installation of in-premises equipment. Retail service providers will set the price of broadband packages available to consumers.

NBN Co and service providers will work together to ensure that the end user experience is consistent with expected outcomes.

"The former Labor Government's NBN ISS is a debacle. Labor promised that the ISS could potentially cover 250,000 premises, but only leased enough capacity to cover 48,000 premises, which was quickly reached,'' Mr Truss said.

"The former government completely underestimated the demand for the ISS and had no credible plan to extend broadband coverage to rural and remote Australia in the time between the ISS reaching capacity and the Long Term Satellite Service coming into service.''

Note: an earlier version of this story incorrectly said the ISS would increase the capacity for up to 900 extra users.

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