Ursys signs on for Optus D2 satellite

Hundreds of Ursys VSAT services will be migrated across to Optus' D2 satellite by the end of the year under a new partnership, the companies have announced.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Optus has announced winning Ursys' business, with the regional communications provider signing on to migrate its iDirect VSAT services to the Optus D2 satellite by December this year.

As part of the migration, "hundreds" of services will be moved across to the new satellite, Ursys COO Patrick Duff said.

"This migration signifies a generational change in Ursys infrastructure, but one we strongly believe is worth the effort and will result in a new and innovative services for our customers," Duff explained.

"Key points, such as having a single hardware configuration for all satellites in our fleet [and] massive efficiency gains from the latest iDirect platform utilising DVB-S2X, allow us to deliver the latest platform features such as L2 over Satellite, q-in-q, VPLS/VPWS, and more."

Ursys, which has been operating domestic and international iDirect-based VSAT networks for over 10 years, chose to go with Optus' D2 satellite because it is "operated by a company with a local presence who flies their own satellites and runs their own facilities to a very high standard", Duff added.

Ursys had originally partnered with Optus Satellite back in mid-2016, at the time gaining access to the telco's satellite capacity and third-party satellite partners internationally.

Under that partnership, Ursys also gained access to Optus' D2 satellite, and its teleport facilities in Belrose, Sydney, and wider infrastructure.

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

Optus Satellite's focus on providing broadband services to regional Australians also saw it partner with National Broadband Network (NBN) satellite retail service provider (RSP) Southern Phone in October to offer Sky Muster services.

"This new partnership will help us connect with even more regional customers, and importantly make sure that those customers are able to have the same level of support that a customer in a metro area would," Optus Satellite VP Paul Sheridan said at the time.

"We see this service as a viable and effective alternative to a traditional NBN connection. For some consumers, this will be the first time they've been able to connect to a broadband service."

Optus will provide its customer service offering to its Southern Phone NBN customers, while the latter RSP will provide sales and marketing support. Southern Phone has a call centre based in regional Australia.

In June, Optus Satellite additionally extended its communications partnership with the Australian Department of Defence for the next 10 years for AU$40 million, involving a reconfiguration of the C1 satellite.

The deal will also necessitate the upgrade of ground infrastructure at Optus' facilities in Belrose, New South Wales, and Lockridge, Western Australia, with Optus to continue operating and maintaining the satellite and its services.

"Optus will reconfigure the C1 satellite to operate in an inclined orbit to reduce on‑board fuel usage and extend the life of the satellite as far as 2027," Defence Minister Marise Payne said in June.

"The existing agreement with Optus was due to expire in 2020, coinciding with the satellite's anticipated end-of-life."

Optus has been providing satellite communication services for Defence through the C1 satellite since 2003. 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.

Optus announced a 12 percent fall in satellite revenue for the quarter ending September 30.

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