ANAO report on satellite support scheme released > Mitch Fifield, Liberal Senator for Victoria

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Senator The Hon Mitch Fifield

ANAO report on satellite support scheme released

29 November 2017

The Turnbull Government welcomes the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) audit report regarding the administration of the NBN Satellite Support (NSS) Scheme.

The report found that NBN Co Limited was effective in managing the contract and demand for the NSS scheme by monitoring its promotion and applicant eligibility.

The Coalition Government introduced the NSS scheme to fix Labor’s interim satellite service.

Labor promised 250,000 Australians they would be eligible for the interim satellite service, but only purchased enough capacity to service 48,000. Labor also failed to impose a fair use policy on the retail service providers (RSPs) to ensure all consumers had an equitable share of the capacity.  

The result was a debacle. Consumers experienced severe congestion at peak times with speeds similar or worse than dial-up services, as well as frequent drop-outs. It is yet another example of Labor over-promising and under-delivering.

To fix Labor’s mess, the Government committed $18.4 million to upgrade bandwidth for each user by at least 30 per cent, introduced a stringent fair-use policy to ensure all users could enjoy a quality service - even during peak periods, and established a subsidy scheme to assist up to 9000 eligible households, farms and small businesses to have access to broadband via satellite.

The scheme was established in April 2014 and delivered subsidised satellite services to more than 2,000 customers in rural and remote Australia before the rollout of the Sky Muster satellite service.

NBN Co launched the first Sky Muster Satellite in October 2015 with services starting in April 2016.

In June, the Coalition announced that Sky Muster satellite users would receive around 50 per cent more peak data and twice as much off peak data at no extra cost to retailers. Under Labor, Sky Muster users were set to receive just 35 gigabytes of peak data a month in total.

More than 81,000 customers across regional and remote Australia are now receiving faster, affordable and more reliable broadband services thanks to the Coalition Government.