A satellite internet constellation operated by Elon Musk’s SpaceX is set to improve connectivity and increase reliability of essential Council services like water supply in remote areas.
Starlink has only been available on the eastern coast of Australia in the last four weeks but is soon to be utilised by Bundaberg Regional Council.
Starlink operates through a network of low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites that bounce signals from your equipment back to ground stations on Earth, completing a broadband connection.
Because Starlink satellites are closer to the Earth than other satellite services, signals should take less time to reach them, meaning a faster connection.
Organisational Services portfolio spokesperson Cr Steve Cooper said a Starlink unit was recently purchased by Council’s Information Services team to provide more reliability and improve connectivity to Council’s remote sites and alleviate current issues.
He said in the past, connectivity challenges had been recorded in Council's remote water and waste sites in Gin Gin, Childers, Avondale, South Kolan and Gregory River.
“Now, instead of relying on NBN and mobile service providers alone, both of which suffer from serviceability issues in these locations, Starlink provides a new independent way of providing connectivity,” Cr Cooper said.
“This means Council IT staff have more control, the systems won't be as sensitive as they have been previously and connection is 20 times faster compared to other options.”
Cr Cooper said access to Starlink was advantageous in that it also strengthened the resilience of operations at Council’s water treatment plants.
“During times when our water treatment plants lose connection, operators will receive an alarm to notify them but more often than not, these alarms are delayed,” he said.
“This, in turn, delays Council's reaction in getting services up and running again which is why reliable connectivity is so important in making our systems more resilient.”