Flying Doctor to trial nbn’s Sky Muster™ satellite

26-Jun-2017 9:00 AM

nbn and the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia (RFDS) have agreed terms to commence trial access to nbn’s Sky Muster™ satellite service.

nbn and RFDS will test transportable Sky Muster™ units, initially in four RFDS aircraft and two road vehicles to support visiting primary health clinics, with trials to commence in September. 

RFDS currently uses broadband where it is available in country Australia for delivering tele-health, managing patient records, and keeping medical teams in contact with patients, hospitals, and back to base operations.
 
RFDS CEO Martin Laverty said “Broadband coverage has been inadequate in the bush. Legacy services don’t deliver sufficient speeds to the country, meaning health consumers and health providers can’t depend on the internet for reliable health service delivery.
 
“If trialing nbn’s Sky Muster™ satellites and antenna devices proves successful, RFDS will be gradually able to expand tele-health and online health management reliably across remote and country areas that currently miss out on workable broadband coverage,” Mr Laverty said.  
 
nbn Executive General Manager of Satellite Gavin Williams said the arrangement was a significant step forward in providing health services to the bush.
 
nbn is pleased to be working with RFDS, an organisation which provides essential health and emergency services to remote Australia. nbn is excited to see its ground-breaking satellite technology being trialled by RFDS to assist in bridging the digital divide in remote Australia,” Mr Williams said.
 
The trial will operate in country areas across all States and Territories (except the ACT).
All RFDS Bases across the nation will be given connections to nbn™ Sky Muster™ services. The trial will also test fitting a number of RFDS medical chests with Sky Muster™ services to assess uptake of video tele-health for remote residents who rely on the RFDS for their healthcare.
 
Additionally, a Wi-Fi hot-spot will be installed at a remote NSW airstrip used regularly by the RFDS. This hot-spot will provide RFDS pilots with access to weather and navigational support, and visiting RFDS medical teams with secure and usable broadband access.
 
If the trial is successful, RFDS anticipates incorporating access to Sky Muster™ service into its business as usual systems to support country Australians in getting access to health care. Results of the trial will be assessed in April of 2018.
 
Spokespeople for both nbn and the RFDS are available for interview.
 

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