Optus has been tapped by the Federal Government to trial its satellite services to provide connectivity to rural and remote communities.
The trials are part of the Government’s Alternative Voice Services Trial (AVST) agreement, a $2 million program to provide grants to deliver trial services in different rural and remote locations across Australia. The other telcos invited to trial are Concerotel, NBN Co, Pivotel, Telstra and Zetifi.
Optus will trial some 15 services at predetermined regional locations in New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia. The trial involves fixed and mobile voice calls over data, as well as optional broadband data access with backhaul provided through its satellite network. The trials will run until May 2022.
The satellite services trialled include SatOffice Direct To Home Voice Over IP, Femto – 4G satellite backhaul, and SatOffice POP Wireless Access Loop for VoIP. Optus will supply all communication infrastructure, including satellite terminals and antennas, wireless equipment, hands-free handsets and mobile phones.
The telco said the service would provide comparable service quality provided by traditional copper wires, while also opening up coverage beyond fixed line sockets to more hard to reach areas.
“As a pioneer in satellite solutions and a leading regional communications provider for Australia, Optus is delighted to work with the Federal Government to trial innovative options across our world class network,” Optus managing director of wholesale, satellite and strategy Ben White said.
“Through Optus’ unique combination of satellite and mobile infrastructure, we are able to remove the tyranny of distance when connecting customers with life-changing technology across regional Australia.
“With unrivalled experience in Australia, we’re excited to trial state of the art satellite voice technologies designed specifically to address the demands of those without traditional connectivity.”
In Optus’ announcement, regional communications minister Bridget McKenzie welcomed the telco’s approach to the program.
“The $2 million AVST program aims to identify new ways to deliver voice services including by new providers, while assessing their effectiveness and raising awareness of alternative solutions to provide better services and functionality,” McKenzie said.
“Optus has an opportunity, with this Liberal Nationals Government funding, to showcase new services that offer greater functionality for people on the farm, including greater ability to use mobile phones around the farm.”