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Sky Muster satellite internet free for rural communities during disasters

Image of rural landscape with bushfire background. SkyMesh mesh branding element applied as top layer

[Feature image supplied by Karen Collier, SkyMesh customer & Get Snapping 2020 Photo Competition Entrant] 


Free community Wi-Fi the saviour of rural Aussies during natural disasters

SkyMesh are one of only three retail service providers (RSPs) to partner with nbn™  so far, connecting rural Australians to friends and family via community Wi-Fi points during natural disasters.

Thanks to the partnership, nbn™ will install new equipment that will remain permanently in the local hall or evacuation centre of 109 rural communities where SkyMesh and the other RSPs will manage the Sky Muster satellite internet service.

During natural disasters, these community Wi-Fi points will provide full internet access to local residents who can’t safely stay at home. At all other times (non-emergency times), the connection will provide a basic level of internet access so locals can use Wi-Fi calling, email and web-browsing.

Each site has the capacity to connect between 40 and 100 users at the same time.

Where will these be and how will it work?

Already, 33 community Wi-Fi points are operational across the country. A full list of those locations can be found at the end of this article.

In addition to the 109 fixed sites, there are also powering 5 nbn™ Muster Trucks and 12 nbn™ Fly Aways across the country that will be shared among participating RSPs.

A Muster Truck is a van kitted out with all the necessary nbn™ equipment to provide emergency satellite internet coverage.

Similarly, a Fly Away is designed for mobility. It is a portable nbn™ satellite internet terminal which is self-pointing (that is, it finds the satellite in space without human assistance) and is operational within 15-minutes.

Both the Muster Truck and the Fly Away will give Emergency Service Organisations as well as evacuated community members much needed peace-of-mind during natural disasters, knowing they will always have an internet connection.

The Muster Truck can be deployed to a community within a three-day period to provide emergency internet connectivity and phone charging capacity when nothing else is available.

It’s also self-sufficient, relying on its own power for up to 8-hours.

The Fly Aways will work in the same manner as a normal fixed Sky Muster satellite installation, only its portable nature means it can be easily and quickly deployed in a disaster.

Emergency service organisations and community centres can request access when no other means of connecting to the internet is available. It then works with the users own device such as a laptop, smartphone or tablet.

The partnership forms just one section of the much wider $37.1m federally funded program to Strengthen Telecommunications Against Natural Disasters (STAND), an initiative that came out of the catastrophic 2019 bushfire season.

In early August 2020, the Federal Government invited states and territories to nominate sites for fixed installations of an nbn™ disaster satellite service that would help support back-up community Wi-Fi in the event that site’s existing primary network is interrupted during a disaster.

There will ultimately be up-to 2000 locations across rural Australian with access to these nbn™ community Wi-Fi solutions.

Check out how Sky Muster helps in a bushfire


There are 109 fixed installation community Wi-Fi locations with the following 33 locations currently live:

Australia Capital Territory
  • SES Depot, 903 Cotter Rd, Stromlo ACT 2611
  • Loftus St, Hall ACT 2618
  • 61 Tidbinbilla Reserve Rd, Paddys River ACT 2620
  • Brandy Flat Rd, Booth ACT 2620
  • Boboyan Rd, Booth ACT 2620
  • 82 David Warren Rd, Hume ACT 2620
  • Guises Creek Volunteer Bushfire Brigade, 8686 Monaro Hwy, ACT 2901
New South Wales
  • 1 Aviation Dr, Coffs Harbour NSW 2450
  • 20 Yaldwyn St, Taroom QLD 4420
  • Prairie St, Biloela QLD 4715
  • Young St, Moura QLD 4718
South Australia
  • 14 Watson Rd, Lower Inman Valley SA 5211
  • Miena Community Centre, 55-57 Cider Gum Rd, Miena TAS 7030
  • Huonville Recreation Ground, 40-72 Wilmot Rd, Huonville TAS 7109
  • Nubeena Football Club, 21 Clarke St, Nubeena TAS 7184
  • 10 George St, Currie TAS 7256
  • Recreation Ground & Hall, 1126 Pipers River Rd, Karoola TAS 7267
  • Lilydale Memorial Hall, 1949 Main Rd, Lilydale TAS 7268
  • William St, Waratah TAS 7321
  • Main St, Tintaldra VIC 3708
  • Ohalloran St, Walwa VIC 3709
  • Jamieson-Licola Rd, Licola VIC 3858
  • 40 Arnold St, Orbost VIC 3888
  • 25 Greer St, Mallacoota VIC 3892
  • 99 Day Ave, Omeo VIC 3898
  • 3705 Benambra-Corryong Rd, Benambra VIC 3900
Western Australia
  • Lancelin Rd, Lancelin WA 6044
  • Munro St, Jarrahdale WA 6124
  • Warren Rd, Nannup WA 6275
  • 142 Frantom Way, Bremer Bay WA 6338
  • Rudduck St, Leeman WA 6514
  • 3 Bashford St, Jurien Bay WA 6516
  • 2 Truscott Cres, Exmouth WA 6707
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Image of rural landscape with bushfire background. SkyMesh mesh branding element applied as top layer
Louise Hughes
Written by Louise Hughes

Louise has had a life-long love affair with beautiful words; writing because it drives her, and reading because it feeds her soul. She's the luckiest woman alive to be able to create clever content and intelligent customer experiences for a living.

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