Serious concerns have been raised recently with me in northern Australia regarding access to NBN internet services on the Skymuster satellite network, which was designed for rural and remote areas of the country.
People across the North-West and Cape York have told me that they think that satellite internet services are unreliable, overpriced and difficult to consistently access.
I am told that the more people there are using the service, the slower the speeds become and the more frustrating – and unsatisfactory – the whole experience becomes.
I noticed a recent report that suggested Qantas were soon to start accessing Skymuster satellite NBN services to provide in-flight wifi internet for their passengers. I do not believe there can be any satisfactory justification for weakening the already limited NBN signal access for Northern Australians. Considering the problems already experienced by Skymuster users on the ground, I raised this matter with the Minister.
The Minister, however, assures me that the trial of the in-flight internet technology will be taking place on the Melbourne-Sydney-Brisbane route, and will not impact on capacity from the Skymuster satellites. Rural and remote Northern Australian NBN users will not be impacted.
I am further reassured to note the commitment of the Government, and the NBNCo, to terminate this trial immediately if any adverse effect on ground users is detected.
Clearly, the Government and the NBNCo remain committed to providing Northern Australians with the best possible internet services that are available.