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proftournesol

NBN SkyMuster satellite experience

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OK, I've finally bitten the bullet. We'd had a really flaky ADSL connection through a really good ISP (Internode) for 10 years, it was becoming more and more of a problem with frequent dropouts, slow connection speeds of <1MB/s, still, most of the time we could stream Netflix and Amazon Prime, Foxtel, SBS On Demand etc, as well as streaming 3RRR radio and Spotify. We regularly used 100GB a month. We're only 5km from the exchange but there's not even a consideration for fibre or even wireless NBN for us, the only option is SkyMuster, 2 high orbit geostationary satellites originally envisaged to provide NBN remote access, but now the default situation for any area that may threaten the profitablility of NBNCo. If it isn't profitable then Laberal can't eventually sell it to their corporate mates, so, this is now a prime determinant of who gets what connection outside urban centres.

 

We decided to connect with SkyMesh (that I keep calling SkyNet in a Freudian slip of the tongue)

The connection process was actually a breeze, totally uneventful, although we did need a new modem (that arrived pre-configured by SkyMesh" and was truly plug'n'play

The user experience is more mixed, we paid for a 25MBs connection and we reliably have 20 to 24 so I'm happy with that aspect. Latency is a big problem, even though web pages actually load quickly, there's such a lag between clicking on a link and something starting to happen that it's actually no faster to use in everyday browsing than our slow ADSL. Files download quickly (as you'd expect) and that's a big bonus, however, the big problem is streaming: now that we have a faster connection speed, maybe we can take advantage of our 4K OLED TV? No. I've had to manually throttle every streaming service to SD, otherwise, we'll use all our data allowance in around 2 weeks. This will never change, satellites are expensive and there'll never be a third SkyMuster launched. So, we are left with a service that costs nearly double, is more reliable, but is no faster to use when browsing and provides reliable SD streaming. Thank you Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull (and of course Rupert) for turning what was a social equity principle into a future profit centre to be eventually sold off to your corporate mates, and, that as a result, provides a second-rate experience for rural citizens.

 

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OK, I've ..... Thank you Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull (and of course Rupert) for


I don’t like these guys... but satellite was bipartisan.

Why? Because it was not the politicians idea. The ideas came from people in the communications industry, and represent the best idea that could actually ever get built within a not insane budget and timeframe.

I’m not trying to tell you that you should be happy ... just that conflating this as partisan, or as a “stuff up”, is not a good analysis.

I assume you have no reasonable cellular services in your location? (Eg. with specific antenna). The 3G/4G network is very different from NBN, but cellular will give you unlimited data, on a best effort basis - which seems to be what you want.

Satellite NBN could also do this, however they would kill their capability to provide a universal opportunity of reliable 25mbps to everyone. You might he happy with >5x longer than people in the city to receive my important business email” was the primary use case.

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58 minutes ago, davewantsmoore said:

 


I don’t like these guys... but satellite was bipartisan.

Why? Because it was not the politicians idea. The ideas came from people in the communications industry, and represent the best idea that could actually ever get built within a not insane budget and timeframe.

I’m not trying to tell you that you should be happy ... just that conflating this as partisan, or as a “stuff up”, is not a good analysis.

I assume you have no reasonable cellular services in your location? (Eg. with specific antenna). The 3G/4G network is very different from NBN, but cellular will give you unlimited data, on a best effort basis - which seems to be what you want.

Satellite NBN could also do this, however they would kill their capability to provide a universal opportunity of reliable 25mbps to everyone. You might he happy with >5x longer than people in the city to receive my important business email” was the primary use case.

 

Yes, I have 2 phone towers (Optus & Telstra) within 1km but 'unlimited' 4G data is well out of my price range (and everyones). Unfortunately, phone towers aren't used for NBN too (yes, I understand that range etc is different). The problem is that, for the life of the satellites, SkyMuster will never change, the data limits will stay and speed is capped at 25MB/s. Meanwhile, the city-based user experience will only improve and get cheaper. Maybe SpaceX's mesh satellite network will offer a better experience in a few years?

 

Do you think that the NBN network designers really anticipated the demand for data? Average rural monthly data downloads are approaching 100GB, most of these SkyMuster users will be disappointed

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1 hour ago, proftournesol said:

 

The user experience is more mixed, we paid for a 25MBs connection and we reliably have 20 to 24 so I'm happy with that aspect. Latency is a big problem, even though web pages actually load quickly, there's such a lag between clicking on a link and something starting to happen that it's actually no faster to use in everyday browsing than our slow ADSL. Files download quickly (as you'd expect) and that's a big bonus, however, the big problem is streaming: now that we have a faster connection speed, maybe we can take advantage of our 4K OLED TV? No. I've had to manually throttle every streaming service to SD, otherwise, we'll use all our data allowance in around 2 weeks. This will never change, satellites are expensive and there'll never be a third SkyMuster launched. So, we are left with a service that costs nearly double, is more reliable, but is no faster to use when browsing and provides reliable SD streaming. 

 

Prof

 

Sorry you've lost unlimited usage; buffering overnight is acceptable if it doesn't kill your service experience which it now will. Time to get a mail-order Blu-Ray service! 

 

I know your local Telstra 4G service well, it's very fast with a good backhaul and line-of-sight to a lot of homes in the area. 

 

Sky Muster is great for those that didn't have anything before and better than what the Masters of MTM were campaigning for (frankly it's the one part of NBN where we got a lot for the $2B spend), though if you had a working ADSL connection it'd certainly cramp your style.

 

Have the locals gotten together about working out costs to supply an alternate technology solution? I assume this has happened - how did it go? There's a process with NBN Co., some choose to go down that road though it's much like trying to convince everyone living on a dirt road that they should have to have it asphalted... it's not cheap and consensus is hard.

 

If there's any consolation the NBN solution I get will last me at least 50 years and is compromised, Sky Muster satellites are done in about 15 and you'll have something better by then for sure.

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50 minutes ago, proftournesol said:

Do you think that the NBN network designers really anticipated the demand for data? Average rural monthly data downloads are approaching 100GB, most of these SkyMuster users will be disappointed

 

That's only a small amount these days.    We burn off 200-300GB most months, and we don't use 4K, just HD.

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20 minutes ago, aussievintage said:

 

That's only a small amount these days.    We burn off 200-300GB most months, and we don't use 4K, just HD.

I'd use that much if I could use 4K on the TV and use Tidal instead of Spotify. Unfortunately Spotify and Amazon Prime don't provide for off-peak downloads and I'm not getting up at 1am!

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45 minutes ago, rmpfyf said:

 

Prof

 

Sorry you've lost unlimited usage; buffering overnight is acceptable if it doesn't kill your service experience which it now will. Time to get a mail-order Blu-Ray service! 

 

1

Not the same range or convenience of course. The whole public rationale for NBN was to provide equivalent infrastructure for country people. Rather than force migrants to live in rural areas with no jobs, poor schools, public transport and the internet, just improve the infrastructure and jobs and people will follow. Of course that can't be done on the cheap in a way that provides large profits for PPPs so it won't happen

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Yes, I have 2 phone towers (Optus & Telstra) within 1km but 'unlimited' 4G data is well out of my...


Optus offer 200GB/month for $60 on contract. It’s all relative I guess, but if you want more data, this has it.... of course it’s a different service than NBN is designed to be. Your service will depend a lot on your area and your equipment.

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The problem is that, for the life of the satellites, SkyMuster will never change, the data limits will stay and speed is capped at 25MB/s


It is a problem, although the life of the satellites is (originally intended) to be relatively short in the whole scheme of things... which perhaps gives you an insight into how much some of the alternatives would cost.

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Do you think that the NBN network designers really anticipated the demand for data?

Yes. They did. FWIW we are actually BEHIND what typical predictions were in data growth.

Like I said characterising this as a “stuff up” is poor analysis.

The reality is that there was no other option which would deliver 25mbps ... in a timeframe people would accept... at a cost people would accept.

You could triple the cost (easily) of the NBN, or you could deny regionals any NBN services for a long time (or a combination of both) but the average citizen was not willing to accept that.

There are planned (and should be depending on the politics) further rounds of NBN which move quite a few people off satellite and on to some other sort of wireless... which could pave the way for fewer restrictions and higher speeds for the remaining satellite users (or whatever replaces satellte). Contrary to your use of the word ‘never’.

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