A coordinated satellite and terrestrial microwave backhaul for cellular mobile in remote and regional Australia

Main Article Content

Andrew Crouch


satellite; network;coalition; government


For several years prior to the Australian Federal elections in September 2013, Commonwealth Government telecommunications policy and legislation focussed exclusively on the fixed services National Broadband Network.  This distracted broader public attention from the need for cellular mobile expansion in the more sparsely populated areas of the country.   Commercial returns in these areas are clearly inadequate for unilateral private operator investment, making government participation crucial.  Thus a commitment from the newly elected Coalition Government for a Mobile Black Spot co-investment programme marks a significant change of prospects for remote and regional Australia.

This paper proposes that the joint program should commence with a comprehensive financial and technical study of backhaul and base station technology options, to identify the most cost effective approaches.  These options include the coordinated provisioning of modern satellite and terrestrial backhaul systems, utilising and upgrading existing HCRC microwave system infrastructure, and the implementation of small cell base station types.

It is especially timely for these opportunities to be considered now, during the present pre-launch design and construction phase for the NBN Ka band satellites.      

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