THE first of two national broadband network satellites has blasted off into space, meaning faster internet speeds are a step closer for residents in regional Australia.
The satellite – named Sky Muster by six-year-old Northern Territory student Bailey Brooks – was launched from French Guiana on Thursday morning.
The rocket got up to a speed of more than three kilometres a second as it covered its first 450 kilometres.
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Over the coming months the satellite will undergo final technical testing ahead of its commercial launch scheduled for mid-2016.
NBN CEO Bill Morrow said the satellite will provide access to fast broadband for the parts of Australia that need it most.
“With the launch of Sky Muster, we’re one step closer to changing the digital face of our nation.
“The ability to video-conference friends and family, study courses online and visit doctors from your lounge room will all be possible in areas which have traditionally struggled to access basic internet services like online banking and shopping.
“Many homes and businesses in regional and rural Australia still rely on dial-up level speeds and have little or no access to a commercial broadband service – this satellite will help to close the divide and ensure no-one gets left behind.”