Optus reaches for the stars with 2023 satellite launch

Optus reaches for the stars with 2023 satellite launch

Claims to be launching the first APAC software-defined satellite in APAC

An artist impression of the new satellite

An artist impression of the new satellite

Credit: Optus

Optus has signed a deal with Airbus Defence and Space for Optus 11, a OneSat software-defined satellite, to provide enhanced services for Australia and New Zealand.

The cornerstone customer to utilise the satellite is set to be Sky New Zealand.

Optus claimed it will be the first satellite operator in the Asia Pacific region to launch a software-defined satellite, and will offer flexible concurrent broadcast and broadband services through a very high throughput satellite (VHTS) design.

The telco also claims it will be the first operator in the world to use the Ku band (11-14GHz) spectrum for the software-defined VHTS in broadcast and broadband services.

The satellite is currently set for the Optus D1 orbital location of 160°East at 36,000 kilometres above Earth and will be able to reach from Antarctica to the Cocos Islands, covering a majority of the Pacific region.

Further, the satellite is planned to host a satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS) payload, which can enhance the accuracy and precision of existing GPS and positioning systems across the A/NZ region without the need for mobile or internet coverage.

It is fully configurable in space, so its location, coverage, bandwidth and capacity can be changed in orbit – as opposed to traditional satellites, which cannot be altered after launch.

The launch of this satellite will make it the sixth for Optus, expanding its fleet to become the largest in the company’s, and Australia’s, history, according to the telco.

Kelly Bayer Rosmarin, Optus CEO, said the satellite would cement the telco’s scale and leadership in the trans-Tasman satellite industry.

“Today's exciting news is a testament to Optus’s commitment to invest in cutting-edge next generation technology to enhance our world-class communication networks,” she said. 

Ben White, Optus managing director for wholesale satellite and strategy added that Optus 11’s software-defined technology “marks a paradigm shift in how satellite communication will be delivered across Australia and New Zealand”, claiming that it will offer “unparalleled flexibility” to satellite customers.

“Telecom markets don’t stand still and the ability to re-configure payloads in-orbit is a game-changer. It allows us to adapt to shifting business landscapes and tailor the delivery of services and capacity through dynamic beam-forming technologies,” he said.

“Optus 11 will add capacity and resilience to our satellite fleet and its unique capabilities will give our broadcast customers the option to tailor their dynamic video delivery via IP streaming, and our broadband customers can benefit from better performance and higher individual throughputs. In addition, it will support the Optus mobile network using satellite backhaul and the Government’s Mobile Black Spot Programs (MBSP).

“The spacecraft’s ground-breaking design is a very exciting development and software-defined satellites will become the future of this industry. We look forward to bringing this new, world-leading technology to Australia and New Zealand and continuing to support Australian jobs in the space industry.” 

Optus currently provides satellite services to Australian and New Zealand Government departments, companies and broadcasters, which includes Foxtel, ABC, SBS, Seven Network, regional broadcasters such as Imparja Television, Sky New Zealand and Kordia, as well as services in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica.

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