30/10/2007 - 22:00

AST makes Kimberley connection

30/10/2007 - 22:00

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Osborne Park-based satellite communications provider Applied Satellite Technology Australia Pty Ltd has won a bid to provide hardware for a new high-speed broadband project in the Kimberley region.

AST makes Kimberley connection

Osborne Park-based satellite communications provider Applied Satellite Technology Australia Pty Ltd has won a bid to provide hardware for a new high-speed broadband project in the Kimberley region.

The company will partner with Melbourne-based NewSat Ltd on the project, which is being managed by the Department of Industry and Resources, with AST providing mobile tracking antennae to link with satellites.

Australian Securities Exchange-listed NewSat will supply the satellite bandwith for the project, which will deliver business-grade broadband for internet users in the Kimberley through 16 wireless hotspot sites, as well as other fixed and portable satellite systems.

AST Australia sales manager Richard Coston said the project would be worth about $500,000 to the company in its initial phase.

The Kimberley project will build on an existing collaboration between AST and NewSat that began 12 months ago, servicing oil and gas companies in the North West Shelf venture with remote satellite communications.

A statement from NewSat said the Kimberley project would be worth more than $9 million to the company over five years.

NewSat was awarded an open tender for nearly $2 million, including $1.3 million of federal government funding.

AST’s involvement in the Kimberley venture follows a $5 million contract awarded to the company earlier this year by the Department of Environment and Conservation, to supply the government agency with hardware for its fire management services.

The contract included vehicle tracking solutions, and satellite voice and data communications.

It also involved the provision of handheld satellite communication equipment for Fire and Emergency Services Authority officers.

AST Australia was established four years ago following the merger of Claremont-based communications provider, HB Pacific Pty Ltd, with UK-based AST Group.

AST Australia recently opened an office in Sydney, although Perth will remain as the company’s head office for the Asia Pacific region.

The company is also seeking to position itself as a provider in the government defence area, and is aiming to increase its dealerships to 50 nationwide. It currently services both the maritime and land mobile satellite markets.

High-speed broadband access in the Kimberley is expected to be introduced by mid-2008, and will benefit residents in Broome, Derby, Fitzroy Crossing, Kununurra and Wyndham, among others.

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