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Optus keeps AU$19.5m Defence satellite contract

Optus has secured an extension of its Department of Defence satellite contract for four more years, in a deal worth AU$19.5 million.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

Optus will see out the life of its C1 satellite with the Australian Defence Department renewing the contract for its service on the satellite out to 2018, in a deal worth AU$19.5 million.

Optus and the Department of Defence first launched the C1 satellite in 2003, sharing the costs of building and launching the service. Optus operates commercial services on the C1 satellite in the Ku-band, while Defence uses the Ka-band, UHF, and the X-band for communications across Australia and the Asia Pacific region.

The agreement today takes the C1 satellite out to the minimum 15-year life expectancy for the C1 satellite, and Optus will continue to manage the satellite's operations until mid-2018.

Despite Optus considering selling off its satellite division last year, Optus vice president for satellite, Paul Sheridan, said that the deal affirms Optus' place as the leading satellite operator in Australia.

"We're proud of our role in continuing to support the Department of Defence in its satellite communications requirements," he said in a statement.

It comes as Optus has also secured a deal to operate NBN Co's long term satellite service for up to 15 years, as the company also picks up millions extra from the government as NBN Co seeks to address capacity issues on the interim satellite service, ahead of the launch of the two Ka-band satellites in the second half of 2015.

In 2012, Optus missed out on a billion-dollar Department of Defence terrestrial communications contract to Telstra.

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