Optus Satellite partners with oil and gas telco

RigNet Australia will expand its communications services across oil and gas companies in Australia thanks to gaining access to Optus' satellite capacity.

Optus' satellite division has entered into a partnership with RigNet Australia that will see the latter gain access to the telecommunications provider's extensive satellite capacity across Australia, as well as Optus' third-party satellite partners internationally.

RigNet Australia, based in Perth, provides integrated technology solutions for onshore and offshore telecommunications to the oil and gas industry.

The new agreement will enable the company to access Optus' satellite stations in Oxford Falls, Sydney, and Lockridge, Perth, allowing it to provide services across the APAC region with greater capacity and redundancy.

"RigNet has been securing contracts across the region, and will require more capacity domestically," Paul Sheridan, vice president of Optus Satellite, explained.

"So while they will continue to use their own capacity, this partnership also allows access to capacity from our Optus Satellite fleet and our partners."

RigNet is headquartered in Texas, and provides fully managed data and voice networks along with real-time data services and video-conferencing solutions to companies in more than 50 countries.

"We are excited to partner with a satellite owner and operator such as Optus," Rob George, RigNet regional VP for APAC and the Middle-East, said.

"This partnership provides RigNet access to world-class facilities and terrestrial networks, as well as domestic and international satellite fleets across the Australasian region."

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

In November, Optus claimed that its mobile network covers 100 percent of Australia thanks to the launch of its SatSleeve satellite service -- as long as the customer is within line of sight of its satellites.

The Australian government also relies upon Optus' satellite division; the Department of Defence in July extended its contract with Optus for an undisclosed amount through to 2020 for use of their shared C1 satellite.

The Department of Defence and Optus had initially collaborated to fund, build, and launch the C1 satellite in 2003, with Optus making use of the Ku-band and Defence making use of its Ka-band, UHF, and X-band frequencies for coverage across APAC.

Although Optus had briefly considered selling off its satellite division in 2013, it then extended the satellite's services to 2018 by signing a AU$19.5 million contract renewal with Defence in 2014.

Updated at 9am, April 26: Optus will operate the NBN's satellite, but did not help design or build it.