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NBN underlying issues remain for rural rollout: NT government

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While the National Broadband Network (NBN) has taken steps to improve its rural and regional rollout in the last year[1], the Northern Territory government has argued that the "underlying issues" of providing reliable and adequate broadband services to remote areas of Australia remain.

"The Sky Muster satellite service cannot be the sole solution to serve remote Territorians' needs," the NT government's submission [PDF][2] to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Broadband Network's rural and regional rollout inquiry[3] said.

"Both NBN Co and the Australian government need to actively and cooperatively develop responsive solutions that meet the needs of the substantial NT population who reside outside urban centres."

Instead of waiting for better services from NBN -- which earlier on Wednesday announced that its CEO Bill Morrow will be stepping down by the end of this year[4] -- the NT government also said it is now relying on its own AU$30 million co-investment program with Telstra to deliver mobile and fixed coverage to 17 remote communities.

The territory government said it has also been lobbying both NBN and the federal government to make use of the existing fibre-optic infrastructure in 39 NT communities "rather than the technically inferior satellite solution".

Viasat, which helped design and build NBN's satellite service[5], used its submission [PDF][6] to suggest "realistic and feasible steps" that NBN could take in order to "make satellite broadband a more attractive and robust service than is currently offered".

Viasat's suggestion for the near term is for NBN to make incremental investments in technological improvements to its Sky Muster satellites.

"We recommend implementing a Layer 3 network management program on the Sky Muster network,

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