The first of two national broadband network (NBN) satellites has blasted off into space, bringing faster internet speeds a step closer for regional Australians.
The satellite, named Sky Muster by six-year-old Northern Territory student Bailey Brooks, was launched from French Guiana on Thursday morning.
An NBN spokesman said the satellite was one of the largest in the world.
“The NBN satellite service will provide speeds that people in the cities take for granted, opening up new opportunities in education, health, social connectivity and business,” Frances Kearey told the ABC.
The rocket got up to a speed of more than three kilometres a second as it covered its first 450 kilometres.
Sky Muster will provide high-speed broadband to more than 200,000 homes and businesses in the most remote areas of Australia, including on Norfolk, Christmas, Macquarie and Cocos islands.
“With the launch of Sky Muster, we’re one step closer to changing the digital face of our nation,” NBN chief executive Bill Morrow said in a statement.
“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.”
Artwork drawn by Bailey Brooks was displayed on the side of the rocket.
Residents in regional areas are expected to benefit from the satellite in the first half of 2016.