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Telstra Connects to Satellite for Web Service

Australian telecommunications supplier Telstra added to its Internet backbone infrastructure with the launch of a 45Mbps satellite link to the U.S.

The new link is designed for users of Telstra's Big Pond Direct, the Internet access service for ISPs, corporate and government organisations. Telstra also introduced aggressive new pricing for the service, offering rates down to 11.25 cents per megabyte, considerably lower than the cable-based rate.

Called Big Pond Direct Satellite, the link will provide a separate routing option for international Internet traffic delivered to Australia, the firm said.

Previously both incoming and outgoing international traffic moved via the optical fibre cable network; this new satellite link will provide an asymmetric Internet option in which incoming data from foreign sites traverses the satellite linkup, while outgoing data moves over optical fibre, according to Telstra.

Domestic traffic will continue to be carried by this existing optical fibre network.

The scheme will operate by selling ports to ISPs and similar server-end organisations. These ports connect to Telstra's satellite service and deliver the incoming data to Australian browsers.

As a trade-off for the cost saving is a slower transfer speed than optical fibre. Manager of Telstra Big Pond Business & Direct, Roger Carvosso, told Australia.internet.com that data over the satellite will add a 0.25 second delay to the somewhat slower data rate.

Carvosso added that the satellite link best suited less time sensitive data such as e-mail and news feeds. In spite of the slower speed, Carvosso believed the new service would attract users due to its lower cost. Traffic delivered by the satellite will be charged at the one discounted rate in Australian dollars and currency risks associated with exchange rates will be absorbed by Telstra.

ISPs do not need to install satellite dishes in order to take advantage of the cheaper rates, Carvosso explained. Rather, they apply for a permanent access service, nominate the speed and port type (from permanent modem to FDDI) and then connect to a Big Pond POP.