Vocus uses NBN satellite to upgrade telco services for WA plant

NBN satellite service connects Northern Minerals

northern minerals
Northern Minerals

Vocus will use NBN Co’s satellites to deliver business-grade services to publicly listed Northern Minerals, at the resources company’s pilot plant at Browns Range, Western Australia.

The site is located 160 kilometres from the nearest town, which means both telecommunications and talent retention present challenges.

Northern Minerals said its previous telecommunications coverage was “limited and unreliable”. The exploration company is focused on the construction and operation of a pilot scale project to assess the technical and economic feasibility of a full-scale commercial operation at Browns Range.

After a successful trial in 2019, Vocus was selected to provide NBN satellite service, offering high-speed data and voice connectivity via NBN Co’s Sky Muster satellites.

“As soon as the new connectivity came online, we saw an immediate increase in morale, with people being able to message, talk and Facetime with loved ones without the service dropping out,” Northern Minerals COO Robin Jones said.

“We now have the ability to reliably use video comms and streaming services, and that makes a huge difference in such a remote location. The feedback from our team has been really positive.”

Jones said there operating remote sites presents a range of challenges

“Connectivity in the resources sector has become such an important part of how we operate systems, gather data and communicate across sites” Jones said.

“It’s also critically important to provide an attractive work environment, lifestyle and ways to ensure the personal health and welfare of our employees.

Bureau of Meteorology signs with Vocus

Earlier this week Vocus revealed it had won a $15.7 million four-year contract with the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM).

Vocus already provided telecommunication services for BoM but has now doubles the size of its deal with the agency.

Vocus will provide connectivity services through its own fibre network to the majority of BoM sites under the contract. Through its partnership with NBN Co, Vocus will support a third of the new sites, most being via NBN Co’s satellite service. The remaining sites will rely on partnerships with other providers, including Telstra.

The agency expects Vocus will significantly increase overall capacity and redundancy.

“Typically, we provide fibre and network solutions to customers entirely on our own fibre network, which has been purpose built for business,” Vocus chief executive, enterprise and government Andrew Wildblood said. “That has certainly been a key factor in winning this contract with BoM, and the strong supplier relationship we’ve had with them for more than a decade.”

In its recently reported half year results, Vocus revealed a 20 per cent increase in NBN revenue, or $25.1 million for the half year ended 31 December 2019.

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