Shadow Minister for Regional Communications, Stephen Jones MP today welcomed the announcement by NBN of the data increase for NBN Sky Muster customers. Until now NBN Sky Muster customers have been paying the same price for a fraction of the service they receive. Increasing the data cap is a welcome improvement but it doesn't address many of the other issues plaguing Sky Muster and the total lack of transparency by NBN.
Small businesses and households operating in regional and remote areas who have to use the SkyMuster system have had their data use rationed by Malcolm Turnbull's arbitrary "Fair Use" policy until now.
The deployment of Sky Muster satellite broadband in Australia has been far from exemplary and this has been compounded by a complete lack of transparency about assumptions around data allocation.
Sky Muster should have been a good news story for remote Australia but problems with its deployment have seen confidence in the delivery of broadband services via satellite taking a hammering. It is no wonder that only 17% of eligible premises have taken up Sky Muster, compared to 35% for Fixed Wireless and 47% for Fixed Line.
Experts and Community Groups have been calling for greater disclosure for some time. Stephen Jones congratulated the Rural Regional and Remote Communications Coalition https://www.farmers.org.au/content/nff/en/get-involved/campaigns/rrrcc-data-drought.html for their ongoing efforts in bringing better communications to the bush.
On Tuesday, 27 June, in Adelaide, the Joint NBN Oversight committee heard further expert evidence about problems with the SkyMuster system which had been plagued by these low take up rates and service instability.
At the hearing, Satellite expert Professor Reg Coutts backed Labor’s call for an independent review into SkyMuster to get to the bottom of these issues.