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NBN sets up live feed to Thursday's Sky Muster satellite launch

Thursday will see NBN take a big step in its plan to connect millions of Australian homes to the new high-speed broadband network as it launches the first of two satellites into space.


On Thursday a 6,400-kilogram satellite will take to the sky in what will arguably the biggest step NBN has taken thus far in launching Australia's national broadband network. In celebration of high-speed and widespread Internet, NBN has set up a live YouTube feed that will allow people around the country to watch the satellite's send off.

The launch takes place at 6:30 a.m. AEST on Thursday morning, with the feed broadcasting from South America's Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana. The satellite, named Sky Muster, is the first of two that will be sent into space for the NBN project.

While the government hopes to connect 8 million homes and businesses to the NBN by 2020, as well as drastically improve Internet speeds, Sky Muster will be of particular significance to those outside of Australia's metropolitan areas.

"Many rural and remote Australians do not have access to a quality broadband service and continue to experience dial-up level speeds," NBN's managing space systems architect Julia Dickinson said.

"Sky Muster will help deliver world-class broadband services to the bush -- it will offer better opportunities for distance education online through use of video-conferencing as well as improved access for specialist telehealth applications in the home."

Following Thursday's launch, the government expects its Long Term Satellite Service (LTSS), which will deliver speeds of up to 25Mbps download and 5Mbps upload, will be available in 2016. For comparison, the country's download speed, currently powered by the Interim Satellite Service, was pegged at 6.9Mbps earlier this year.

Sky Muster's blastoff will be the second noteworthy development for the national broadband network in the space of 10 days, as last Monday the NBN launched its commercial fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) product.

The commercial release followed trials on the NSW Central Coast, during which NBN saw subscribers living within 400 metres of a broadband node "consistently receiving speeds of 100Mbps/40Mbps" in downloads and uploads respectively. This was significant given that the NBN opted for a FTTN model after ditching a more expensive fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) rollout.