NBN contracted Space Systems/Loral to develop two $620-million modern satellites to serve all regions in the country. However, some critics argue that NBN should have considered hosted payloads rather than build satellites.
NewSat CEO Adrian Ballintine was upset because NBN never thought of using the company's current and future resources.
The locally owned satellite communications company has been operating world-class teleports serving the US government and multinational mining and energy firms. Ballintine is also referring to the Jabiru satellite fleet which will be launched soon.
NBN finds itself under fire when the official 2011 subscription figures were released. It turned out that only few businesses and consumers used NBN networks. Opposition leader Tony Abbot said that it's not wise to invest millions of dollars on fiber optics and satellites if only few consumers will benefit from them. Although the figure was below the original forecast, NBN hopes the number would grow as more resellers join the network.
Ballintine hints at possible use of Jabiru to bring down the cost of NBN's satellite broadband program. The Jabiru 1 satellite is designed to carry multiple payloads. Deployment of satellite communications services can be made more affordable through hosted payloads.
NBN CEO Mike Quigley, however, said that satellite construction is necessary for the national satellite communications program. Australia has no sufficient local satellite capacity to provide national coverage. Optus confirmed that it also cannot provide NBN's needed capacity with its existing Ku band satellites.
Ballintine is also worried about possible competition resulting from the local satellite capacity surplus. He argued that NBN satellites can pump up local satellite communications capacity which could be resold to the commercial sector. He warns that this would result into foreign multinationals tapping on cheap local capacity due to surplus.