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Software update takes out NBN satellite users

Remedy offered to users still affected is to power cycle modem and NBN network termination device.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

A planned software update by NBN early on Friday morning has hit a number of its Sky Muster satellite users.

"Services are being restored nationally but we are aware of some end users who are still experiencing outages," an NBN spokesperson said.

"We are working closely with our satellite partners to get these services restored as quickly as we can and we apologise to all satellite end users who have been impacted by this outage."

As is typical with NBN outages, it is once again smaller retailers that are providing more information, with satellite retailer SkyMesh detailing the event.

At 9:40am AEDT, services remained offline if they went through Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, and Waroona gateways.

"NBN is continuing to investigate the services remaining offline," SkyMesh wrote.

"If you are on one of the above gateways, we recommend turning off your NBN NTD and router for 5mins and then back on to see if your service restores."

NBN later said at 1:08pm AEDT that services were "restored nationally".

Despite NBN being able to boast that it now has a network where the majority of users are on plans with speeds at or over 50Mbps, the 93,000 Sky Muster users are incapable of 50Mbps speeds, and arguably have the most need for the touted benefits of high-definition telehealth, video conferencing, and distance education that have long been promised.

In December, the Department of Communications disclosed that 17,500 of satellite users had no 3G mobile coverage.

In response to a Senate Estimates question on notice, the department said it estimated that Telstra provides 201,000 fixed voice services in the Sky Muster satellite footprint.

Of those 201,000 fixed voice services, 181,000 or 90 percent are provided via Telstra's copper network; 14,000 or 7 percent are provided using radio technology; 4,500 or 2 percent use Telstra's terrestrial wireless networks; 1,000 or 1 percent use Telstra's Universal Service Obligation (USO) satellite service; and 500 use Telstra's Velocity fibre network.

In regards to mobile coverage, of those 201,000 fixed voice services, 154,500 or 77 percent are located within at least one carrier's 3G coverage; 29,000 or 14 percent are located outside of any 3G coverage, but within at least one carrier's 3G external antenna coverage; and 17,500 or 9 percent have no 3G coverage.

"These numbers are based on a desktop assessment of mobile coverage, and do not take into account factors that could contribute to poor mobile coverage like obstructions from buildings, trees, and hills," the department added.

"Field testing would be required to confirm these numbers."

Updated at 1.14pm AEDT, March 1, 2019: The issue has now been resolved.

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