Many resource industries have operations in remote regions. Mining, oil and gas, and construction sites are found in far-flung locations, often inaccessible by road, and cut-off from terrestrial communications infrastructure.
This is why NewSat Ltd has been creating partnerships with many businesses in the resource sector.
With its world-class facilities and innovative solutions, Australia’s leading independent satellite specialist has provided mining sites with communications platforms that improve not only operations efficiency but also employee retention rates; it has also delivered satellite communications solutions like remote monitoring and management of temporary construction sites, and oil and gas projects using satellite communications solutions.
From Ku band capacity to robust, VSAT services; from vehicle mounted antenna to wireless backhaul services, let Australia’s satellite communications company provide you the innovative, effective, and reliable solutions.
After several years in the business, a satellite communications specialist is looking at launching its very own satellite. By Noel Dyson AMM
By mid-2012 NewSat could become the first Australian non-government entity to have its own satellite in space.
NewSat could become the first Australian non-government entity to have its own satellite in space.
The company started mulling the idea over in earnest about 18 months ago. It announced in early 2008 that it would call its bird Jabiru. It acknowledged that while that was synonymous with a Northern Territory town,it expected little confusion between the two as the satellite would be 36,000 kilometres above earth.
The company should be able to tell the market soon who will build the satellite, how big it will be, what slot it will take and who will fund it.
Depending on the size of the satellite it opts to go with, NewSat could be looking at somewhere around $350-500 million. Despite the global financial crisis, NewSat is confident it will find the funds. There are organisations that specialise in funding satellites and their launches. There are even companies that will insure satellites.
While demand for its services is one of the reasons pushing NewSat to take its satellite services to another level, another is a desire to broaden the satellite offering in Australia. Satellite looms as an obvious answer to the problem of getting communications services to remote mining operations and drilling camps. However, it has often been seen as a poor relation to more established forms of communication technology.
Like most other areas, satellite technology has improved rapidly. In some cases it is at a point where communications through it are about on par with other options.
NewSat sells both satellite telemetry services and communications services. It counts many resources players among its clients but is not limited to that field.
Indeed, it lays claim to having one of its satellite dishes atop every Woolworths store in Australia. This means the Woolworths head office can simultaneously broadcast information to every one of its stores, be it in the Melbourne CBD or out in the bush.
NewSat chief executive officer Adrian Ballintine said that within the next 90 days the company would firm up how big its satellite would need to be.
“There are a number of ways to fund satellites he said.” Governments in a number of countries offer some interesting ways of funding satellites. In Europe and the US there are many companies that build rockets. They have government funding organisations that give you benefits if you have your rockets built there.
“It will be a combination of debt and equity funding.”
Indeed, despite the global financial crisis it appears funding will be forthcoming. “I think satellites are proving to be fairly recession proof’ Ballintine said. Broadening Australia’s satellite spectrum is one of his aims.
There are three major broadcast bands - C-band, Ku-band and Ka-band. C-band has particular utility where there is a lot of rain. The Ku-band is widely used in Australia. Ballintine said the Ka-band, tlpified by its small Foxtel-sized antennas. had been overlooked and could be a boon for the Australian market.
“At the moment we’re providing all of our customers with Ku services,” he said. “But with technology improvements the Ka-band is becoming more widely used. We could supply some services to mining communities with it.”
However, Ballintine said there was no Ka band coverage over Australia at the moment, something he hopes to fix when NewSat gets its satellite in the air.
Having its own satellite should also help NewSat boost its customer base. Ballintine said having such space and bandwidth available would allow NewSat to target customers it would not normally. He said the company counted most of the major mining companies among its clients.
‘We also provide services for military camps in Afghanistan and have done some work in Iraq,” Ballintine said. “We cover about 75 per cent of the world”