Optus trial pioneering Satellite technology with Federal Government

12-month trial to identify new voice services in remote and regional Australia

Optus is delivering innovative trials as part of the Alternative Voice Services Trial (AVST) agreement, leading the way in providing pioneering satellite voice technology with the Australian Federal Government to support rural and remote communities.

The pilot program is showcasing three Optus Satellite services that will provide high quality, reliable voice and data.

Once deployed, Australians in rural and remote areas will have access to mobile services through satellites comparable in quality to that of traditional copper wires. This will open coverage up beyond the fixed line socket in the homestead to the surrounding paddocks giving Australians more options on how and where they connect.

The Optus Satellite services being trialled are: SatOffice Direct To Home Voice Over IP, Femto 4G satellite backhaul, and SatOffice POP Wireless Access Loop for VoIP (see below).

The three solutions are being tested separately across rural locations in South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland, with Optus supplying all communication infrastructure, including satellite terminals and antennas, wireless equipment, handsfree handsets and mobile phones for the Femto Cell 4G site.

Ben White, Optus Managing Director, Wholesale, Satellite and Strategy, said: 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.

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, were excited to trial state of the art satellite voice technologies designed specifically to address the demands of those without traditional connectivity.

The three technologies are being trialled until May 2022.

Minister for Regional Communications, Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie, welcomed Optus approach towards the Alternative Voice Services Trials.

The $2 million AVST program aims to identify new ways deliver voices services including by new providers, while assessing their effectiveness and raising awareness of alternative solutions to provide better services and functionality, Minister 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.

The AVST program was announced as part of the Australian Governments response to the 2018 Regional Telecommunications Review, which sought feedback from rural, regional, and remote communities on telecommunications issues. The 2021 Regional Telecommunications Review is now underway and the details can be found at www.rtirc.gov.au/.

The technology solutions explained:

SatOffice Direct To Home Voice Over IP:

Provides a remote location with satellite data (IP) connectivity, providing access to Optus Voice Over IP network, allowing connectivity into the telephony network. A user is provided with a satellite dish, modem and a standard DECT handset and a new standard phone number. They are in effect provided with a dial tone over satellite and allowed to make/receive calls at home as one would using standard copper telephony or Plain Old Telephone Services (POTS).

Femto 4G satellite backhaul:

Provides a micro mobile coverage radius of up to 1 km from an installed antennae when in an area without service. Using an antennae positioned on a homestead roof, the 4G backhaul would offer residents within a kilometer of the attenae who have access to device that is supported by an Optus enabled 4G SIM to make/receive 4G calls and data where available. These services are used and deployed as part of Optus response to the Australian Mobile Black Spot Program with 49 satellite sites enabled as of September 2021.

SatOffice POP Wireless Access Loop for VoIP:

Enables a remote location to be supplied with satellite data (IP) connectivity and use Wireless Access technology. Using an Optus provided VSAT and WI-FI repeater deployed at the main homestead, other buildings within the property can be connected using point to point wireless links. The wireless links provide a wide WI-FI network, extending traditional satellite access up to several kilometres outside of the single home. Each user is supplied with a WI-FI link to their home, allowing connection back to the single main central satellite equipment, and a standard handsfree handset to connect to the Optus VoIP cloud. Each handset is supplied with a new standard phone number.

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