In Blog

SES Networks John Turnbull

John Turnbull
Director, Australia and Pacific, Fixed Data, SES Networks

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As a leader in global content connectivity, we strive to make a difference to communities and businesses we serve, and to empower everyone with the freedom to take their story wherever they want it to go – unlimited by geography and technology. But like how most good stories are rarely created in a silo, the task of connecting people cannot be achieved by any one single entity.

The story of how we are delivering enhanced connectivity across the Pacific region is, in fact, not ours alone. Instead, it is an ongoing narrative of our local partners coming together with us to share a joint vision to empower businesses and communities in underserved regions everywhere through next-generation, satellite-enabled connectivity.

Unveiling a New Chapter in Regional Connectivity
The latest chapter in our ongoing mission to deliver enhanced connectivity to the region starts in Dubbo, New South Wales in Australia. This city of around 38,000 people was recently unveiled as the site for a new satellite ground station at the Pivotel teleport. The ground station will support O3b mPOWER, SES’s next-generation, non-geostationary (NGSO) constellation and enable the delivery of enhanced telecommunication services to regional communities.

With this project, Pivotel and SES will be bringing much-needed high-performance and low-latency connectivity services across Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific islands. The incoming terabit-level constellation will deliver multiple gigabit-per-second beams of data services to customers, providing fiber-like connectivity with more bandwidth and improved flexibility to remote and underserved communities.

Once completed, the Dubbo gateway will commence operations in the second half of 2021 and track SES’s O3b mPOWER constellation operating at Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) 8,000km away from Earth. This ground station will also support telemetry, tracking, and command systems needed to control the satellites during the early stages of launch and complete integration with the Satellite Operations Center.

It was a great honor to announce this new initiative with Pivotel in December 2020 and hear first-hand from the Australian Federal Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government, the Honorable Mark Coulton MP, and the Dubbo Mayor, Councillor Ben Shields, on how the project would benefit the local community.

“The announcement of this new satellite ground station is fantastic news not only for the local community and economy, but for regional Australia. The role that satellite technology can play in providing improved health, education, and community welfare services cannot be overestimated,” Minister Coulton said.

“I am delighted Pivotel and SES have chosen Dubbo to host a new satellite ground station. Dubbo understands the importance of good telecommunications options for regional and remote communities, so when technology like this comes along, we will definitely support it,” Councillor Shields said.

Stronger Together in Connecting the Pacific Region to the World
Our partnership with Pivotel began in 2013 with the current-gen O3b ground station also located in Dubbo. It is exciting to see that the partnership has evolved with our next-gen O3b mPOWER constellation in Dubbo. The success of our partnership can be credited to Pivotel’s experienced and dedicated teams, as well as both companies’ common vision of bringing connectivity to all. With this common vision, this initiative saw both teams deeply integrating industry-leading technology from both businesses to create a high-performance platform for the region.

Separately, choosing Dubbo, a major regional service center, as the host of a new O3b mPOWER satellite ground station was an ideal choice. As a vital commercial, industrial, and administrative hub for the New South Wales Central West, Dubbo has a huge talent pool that we can leverage to provide essential services across the region.

Elsewhere in the region, SES has similarly been working with our local partners in empowering local businesses and communities through the power of connectivity. We worked with various partners across the region to enable countries such as the Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea, Nauru, and the Federated States of Micronesia to roll out low latency 4G/4G+ networks via satellite – a first for the satellite industry. Remote mining locations have also benefited from this technology, accelerating their digitization plans and staff welfare through high-speed Internet.

When undersea cables in Tonga and Papua New Guinea were damaged during earthquakes, SES worked with our local partners to restore vital connectivity.

Looking Ahead to a Better-connected Region
This latest initiative is part of our ongoing commitment to invest and help develop the region. With SES being a connectivity services provider in Australia for almost 20 years, we continue to look forward to many more years of working together with other local technology providers, civic leaders, and other community stakeholders to bring connectivity to everyone, regardless of where they are.