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Move Over SkyMuster, Elon Musk Is Coming For Oz Regional Broadband

SkyMuster NBN technology may be under threat in regional and rural Australia as Elon Musk takes the next step in bringing satellite broadband services down under via SpaceX.

As covered by The Guardian, SpaceX has been added to a list of satellite operators allowed in Australian airspace by the communications regulator (ACMA), bringing it one step closer to being operational.

With 242 satellites in orbit around the Earth, SpaceX Starlink plans to expand to a ‘constellation’ of 7,518 low-earth orbit satellites.

Having launched 60 satellites in the previous month, the company plans to launch roughly 60 more per fortnight this year.

According to US filings in 2016 with the FCC, SpaceX claimed ‘low cost’ gigabit internet for its users.

In comparison, SkyMuster offers only two-speed levels – 12/1Mbps and 25/5Mbps – servicing 96,000 homes and businesses.

Now into the fifth year of their expected fifteen-year lifespan, NBN is now considering replacement satellites to compete with SpaceX.

Perhaps the proposed ‘Broadband Tax‘ may enough to fund it, with MP Paul Fletcher citing ‘money collected from the base component of the charge would be used to fund the losses NBN Co incurs in constructing and operating its fixed wireless and satellite networks’.

Though according to Shadow Minister Michelle Rowland, ‘The government is seeking to pass a broadband tax that is seeking to raise nearly half a billion dollars over the next decade,’ in order to protect the NBN Co which was estimated to lose $9.8 billion over 30 years’.

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