Like three-quarters of Australians, the small NSW town of Merimbula isn't on the three-year rollout map for the National . But the town now has its own NBN claim to fame, having been selected by NBN Co as the site of its first satellite gateway.
The selection was announced today, though construction of the facility — the first of 10 around the country which will be used to deliver satellite internet services in areas where fibre isn't practical or economic — won't begin until next year. The site (actually outside Merimbula in an even more obscure town known as Wolumla) will begin operating in 2015, which is when the current interim satellite service is due to be replaced with the full-scale NBN option.
So why Merimbula? According to NBN Co's satellite project director Matt Dawson: "Merimbula was chosen for a number of reasons: The climate is perfect for our needs. It’s also located close to reliable power and other infrastructure including the NBN’s core fibre transit network." Dawson also noted that Merimbula itself will eventually get a fibre-based NBN service, as will most Australians; only three per cent are expected to use the satellite alternative.