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Mon Dieu! French Rockets NBN Satellite

NBN Co is to hook up with Arianespace, the European satellite company, to propel NBN’s two Ka-band broadband satellites into space.

The contract, announced today by National Broadband Network chief Mike Quigley, is worth up to $300 million.

Minister for Broadband Stephen Conroy was also present at the announcement in NBN HQ in North Sydney.

The two purpose-built communications satellites under construction in California, will lift off via two 777 tonne Ariane 5 heavy-lift rockets which will deliver the payloads into geostationary orbit to serve  Australia.

The launches will take place from Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana, situated on the equator on the North Atlantic coast of South America in 2015.

The awarding of the contract followed “a comprehensive two-year procurement process” NBN Co stressed in a statement. The satellites will allow provide NBN high speed internet to up to 200,000 premises in remote Australia.

NBN Co is now planning to offer a faster speed tier on its fixed/ satellite of ‘up to’ 25 Mbps downloads and 5 Mbps uploads -four times higher than the downloads available on NBN Interim Satellite Service.

The faster Internet speeds will hit NBN’s wireless service as soon as June this year and satellite service when it launches in 2015.

NBN Co Chief Mike Quigley said: “The NBN satellite service is key to bridging the divide between the city and the bush.”

The faster broadband speeds will allow regional communities to work from home like they would from the office, access video-based health services and make high-quality video calls, he added.

Jean-Yves Le Gall, CEO of Arianespace “we are proud to be part of Australia’s National Broadband Network project that will help deliver much-needed high-speed broadband services to communities in regional and remote areas of this vast island continent.”

“Arianespace has led the launch services industry with many operational firsts and numerous recordsetting missions.”