The company responsible for rolling out the National Broadband Network (NBN) across Australia has pencilled in October for the launch of its second Ka-band satellite, aimed at providing high-speed broadband coverage for the 3 percent of the Australian population not living within the fixed-wireless, fixed line network footprint by 2020.
Named Sky Muster II, the 6,400 kilogram satellite is expected to deliver wholesale broadband speeds of up to 25Mbps download and up to 5Mbps upload to retail service providers.
Sky Muster II will launch 36,000 kilometres into orbit from French Guiana Space Centre in South America, with NBN's satellite architect Julia Dickinson calling the venture an "enormous project".
"We are doing our best to deliver the NBN Sky Muster service as fast as we can, but reaching all corners of the country will take some time," she said in a statement.
NBN originally launched satellite services in late April after Sky Muster left French Guiana in September. Within two weeks, it had already received 3,000 orders of service. The pair of Sky Muster satellites cost NBN AU$620 million to develop.
Earlier this year, NBN said that while users could purchase services from retail service providers, it noted that it could take some time for the connections to be made.
"We have teamed up with our delivery partners and now have a field force of over 600 trained technicians ready to connect homes around the country," NBN chief customer officer John Simon said at the time.
"It will take some time to get all eligible premises connected, due to the sheer size of our 7.69 million kilometre-squared country, so we ask for patience as our teams travel around to install the service."
During 200 end-user trials of the satellite service, users attained speeds of up to 25/5Mbps, which NBN said amounted to being four times faster than existing satellite services.
Communications Minister cum Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull previously labelled the Sky Muster satellites unnecessary "Rolls-Royce" satellites during his tenure as shadow communications minister, changing his tune in August, describing them as "world-class".
"The NBN long-term satellite service will be a game changer for those living in the bush, and will help bridge the digital divide currently experienced by many," Turnbull said at the time. "These next-generation Ka-band satellites will deliver world-class performance and peak speeds of up to 25 megabits per second regardless of where people live."
NBN also said Monday that the new satellite's nosecone -- the forwardmost section of the rocket -- will be covered in a mosaic-style image comprised of the faces of over 700 Australians.