Telstra partners with Starlink to provide rural connectivity

Telstra Starlink satellite partnership

In a big announcement for Australians living in rural and remote areas, Telstra has agreed to provide Starlink-powered voice and broadband services.

At the moment, Telstra uses technologies such as its own mobile network, copper and radio networks in addition to NBN Fixed Wireless to service rural Australians. Once the agreement with the US-based company SpaceX, which Starlink operates under, takes effect, there will be another voice and internet connectivity option available.

Starlink uses low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites, which are said to send and receive signals faster than other technologies. This is helpful for people in remote areas not well-serviced by existing mobile infrastructure.

Telstra + Starlink partnership details

Telstra labels the Starlink agreement as the first of its kind across regional and remote Australia. The expanded service offering is expected to launch by the end of 2023, before which Telstra will announce specific details regarding price and device compatibility.

According to the major telco, one of the biggest advantages of partnering with Starlink is providing local support to Australians. While specific details will come later, Telstra mentioned professional installations and local help with setting up as a core part of the service.

Available to both consumers and businesses, the upcoming satellite voice and broadband technology better supports remote users who need low-latency services. This encompasses voice and video calls, which can be prone to drop-outs in poorly serviced locations. Telstra CEO Vicki Brady mentioned that the Starlink agreement was based on providing more options for rural Australians.

“Telstra is always looking to invest in new and better connectivity options for our customers,” Brady said. “We know that collaborating with the right partners is one of the best ways to help unlock a digital future, in this case for people in rural and remote Australia looking for an improved voice or broadband service.”

With the local Starlink partnership, it places more competitive pressure on NBN Co’s own Sky Muster satellite offering. Plus, it also provides people living in rural areas who may have missed out on fibre upgrades with more options.

It also notches up a win for Telstra, having recently been blocked by the Australian Competition Tribunal from sharing network infrastructure with TPG, and copping criticism for recent price increases.

Telstra has more details about the partnership on its website.

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