There was great anticipation from local satellite users that Sky Muster would solve their problems. Many residents in the area have lived for years with snail speed internet, weather caused outages and expensive service for tiny data quotas. That has not proven to be the case.
Immediate over-subscription and a recent technical issue has meant that satellite users are back to the “bad old days” of outages and speeds so slow that services like internet banking time out before being able to complete signing in or transactions. SkyMesh users who contacted their providor were told that they were aware of a problem and that fixes were to be put in place during a scheduled outage, that does not seem to have been successful. One satellite user was told by their providor that the issue was with the satellite itself and that it was not known when or if it could be fixed as the NBN were not giving out information about what they were doing.
The NBN Sky Muster satellite, originally only planned for the most remote of households, has had to pick up not only original satellite users, but even city dwellers where internet services are no longer served to their location after ADSL2 has been cut off even when NBN wired and wireless services do not service them.
Access to the internet was recognised in July this year as a basic human right. The lack of access, or the degraded access that the people, and more importantly the children, of Coonabarabran is one of the factors that is hampering growth in our area. The NBN/Sky Muster was hailed as a way for city people to make e-changes to country towns to be able to work and have a rural lifestyle. While some area, like Dubbo, has been able to pull that off, Coonabarabran is struggling to have our Federal member to continue to lobby for a mobile phone tower to cover an area with no coverage, let alone decent internet.
The second Sky Muster satellite will be launched from French Guiana this week with no guarantees that technical issues will be solved. It won’t change the problem that Coonabarabran is being left behind in the digital space.
Image from Wikipedia