Internet from space

Telstra Satellite Home Internet powered by Starlink has arrived at Lockyer Valley Communications

Reliable home internet is more essential than ever.

Whether it’s work, school, entertainment, or keeping on top of your life admin, a fast and reliable home internet connection is a must-have in many people’s homes.

In great news for remote and rural locations, Telstra is offering a new way to connect with the world wide web.

Telstra recently launched Telstra Satellite Home Internet, powered by Starlink.

It’s a new way for homes to connect to the internet, using innovative Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites to provide high speed, low latency internet in even the most remote places.

Lockyer Valley Communications manager Sarah Burgess said this new technology filled the gaps between the existing internet networks.

“Most people will have access to some form of internet,” she said.

“In our areas we mainly see fibre to the node and fixed wireless nbn.

“As you get a little bit more rural, it then becomes available only by satellite.”

Aside from the nbn network, people might also access the internet via the mobile broadband network.

“There are people who are currently relying on mobile broadband who are struggling with their data caps or their data allowance,” Sarah said.

“We find a lot of people who are on mobile broadband usually have a limit of about 400GB per month unless they pay for multiple shareable services.”

Telstra currently uses a mix of technologies to provide voice and broadband services in rural and remote Australia, including nbn fixed and fixed wireless broadband, the mobile network, and older copper and radio networks.

The addition of Telstra LEO Satellite services powered by Starlink provides an additional connectivity option for eligible customers in rural and remote locations where distance and terrain make it difficult to provide quality connectivity with existing terrestrial networks.

It differs from nbn Satellite in a pretty big way, literally.

Nbn Satellites runs on GEO – Geostationary Equatorial Orbit satellite.

“They’re way further up, roughly 35,000 kms,” Sarah said.

“With those technologies, you can get latency, as the satellites are so far away.

“Usually those providers will also give you on peak and off peak and limited internet.”

As the ‘L’ implies, LEOs are much closer to the earth, at least in satellite terms.

LEO satellites are positioned at an altitude between 160 to 2,000 kilometres above the Earth’s surface.

The big benefit of LEO satellites operating closer to Earth than other satellite types is it means the time between signals sent and received (latency) is much lower, in other words faster response times.

This makes them a great and more consistent option for services that need low latency, such as voice and video calls.

Plus, because there are hundreds or thousands of satellites covering the earth at any moment in time, as opposed to just three GEO satellites, the global capacity of LEO constellations can be significantly greater and scaled up as needed (with more satellites) allowing LEO satellite connections to offer great download speeds.

It’s a technological solution to one of the country’s biggest hurdles in providing connectivity across the country.

“Australia is so vast, we’re such a large country, and so far spread out in some of our isolated towns, that having fixed internet with fibre and copper and cables, for some areas just isn’t feasible,” Sarah said.

“This is going to fill those gaps.

“So anyone who was missing out is going to be able to have the access that everyone else has had for a long time.”

With the Lockyer Valley’s hilly terrain and isolated properties, this could be a great solution for many homes in the area.

“We’ve already started processing orders,” Sarah said.

“Being where we are, we’re surrounded by a lot of fixed wireless areas and then only that little bit further do we find people who are on satellite only.

“We find areas up near Ingoldsby, those really hilly areas, Blenheim and Thornton, they cut off with fixed wireless there and go to satellite, and out past Spring Creek and Adare as you go further out that way.

“Pretty much all of the major surrounding hilly areas that start to lose fixed wireless, they’re all really good contenders.”

To connect to a LEO satellite, you need a small dish or panel on the ground or roof that can receive and send a signal to the satellites in a location with a relatively clear view of the sky.

“The Starlink equipment just needs an unobstructed view, so mounted on your roof or ground where it’s not going to have any obstructions, and Telstra provide you with a modem,” Sarah said.

“There’s a Starlink app which customers can use to help find the best placement and assess the suitability of the location they would like to install their equipment.”

Importantly, Telstra Satellite Home Internet includes your home phone and mobiles on one bill, so you have one less thing to worry about.

“Telstra’s Satellite home internet plans include your home phone all in the one package, so all of your services can be in the one place,” Sarah said.

Each Telstra Satellite Home Internet connection comes with a Telstra Smart Modem 3 included for use alongside a Starlink Standard Kit.

You can plug it in and play right away without any professional help or installation if you don’t need it.

Find out more by visiting the team at Lockyer Valley Communications today.