Kacific to provide 100Mbps satellite broadband to remote APAC

Beating NBN's 25Mbps service, the Kacific-1 satellite will provide satellite broadband with speeds of up to 100Mbps upon launch in 2019 to more than 20 countries in South East Asia and the Pacific.

Kacific Broadband Satellites has announced that it will provide a 100Mbps satellite broadband service to under-served areas across more than 20 countries in South East Asia and the Pacific through a 702 Boeing satellite.

The Kacific-1 satellite, being built by Boeing, will provide broadband via the projection of 57 Ka-band narrow beams targeted at geographically remote locations throughout those 20 countries, with the service to launch in 2019 at a "low price point".

Each beam has a capacity of up to 1.25Gbps, which Kacific said is the "highest signal power ever achieved in the region".

"We focus on direct-to-premise; we precisely place capacity where it is most needed," said Kacific CEO Christian Patouraux.

"This will yield price points that will unleash internet participation and usage. With the launch of Kacific-1, in 2019, people in areas currently lacking affordable high-speed internet will be able to access online education, healthcare, and public services, and grow their local economies."

Kacific, which raised $147 million late last year through equity, debt, and customer pre-payments for the purchase of the satellite, launch service, and ground systems, has already signed 15 wholesale bandwidth agreements for its satellite service across 14 countries, worth $434 million. It has sold capacity on 51 of the 58 beams, with most beams exceeding 70 percent capacity.

The satellite is co-owned with SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation, which will use its half of the payload, JCSAT-18, to provide satellite broadband services to the Far East Russia and Asia-Pacific regions.

Currently, those living within regional remote areas of Australia are being moved onto the Australian government's National Broadband Network (NBN) Sky Muster satellite service, which provides maximum speeds of 25/5Mbps and data allowances of 150GB per month, with an additional 50GB download per month for distance education students.

NBN launched two AU$620 million Ka-band satellites to provide high-speed broadband for the 400,000 eligible premises in rural areas not living within the fibre, hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC), and fixed-wireless footprint.

Meanwhile, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is encouraging greater investment in Ka-band satellite services by last month slashing the taxation rate for satellite licences.

The ACMA will decrease taxes for satellite services operating over the 17.3GHz-51.4GHz spectrum bands by 30 percent for Australia-wide and high-density area (HDA) licences; by 50 percent for medium-density area (MDA) and low-density area (LDA) licences; and by 100 percent for remote-density area (RDA) licences -- apart from a minimum tax of AU$39.57.

The ACMA also announced that it will encourage spectrum sharing by reducing its taxation of earth station spectrum by 30 percent where it is shared in co-frequency terminals located within 500 metres for earth stations in HDAs; 1,000 metres for MDAs; and 2,000 metres for LDAs and RDAs.

The ACMA will also remove the fixed annual tax of AU$279/MHz for non-geostationary orbit (NGSO) services licences operating in frequencies higher than 8.5GHz.

Optus' satellite division owns the largest number of satellites covering Australia and New Zealand, with six satellites in orbit providing coverage to the region.