The satellite internet service will offer increased accessibility to the internet for many remote communities that have been struggling to stay online.
Prior to this, Starlink was not available in the entirety of Western Australia, being limited to areas south of Geraldton.
Some Starlink users had managed to utilise the service throughout the Kimberley region previously by using the roaming “RV mode” feature of the service.
While they found some limited success, the coverage was spotty as the ground-based Starlink dishes attempted to connect to the closest satellites passing over the region.
With Starlink now officially rolled out in the Kimberley region, this kind of spotty connection should theoretically be a thing of the past.
The roll-out of Starlink to the region came unexpectedly ahead of schedule, with roll-out being originally planned for early next year.
Businesses, organisations and community services operating in the region are set to benefit the most from the introduction of Starlink, as they will be more able to afford the relatively high monthly price of $139 for a connection.
Such an expense can be easily absorbed by the budget of businesses and organisations, but there are concerns that stable internet connections will remain out of reach for many residents living in remote communities in the region.
One of the groups hoping to reap the benefits of the incoming Starlink service is the Purnululu School located in the town of Woorreranginy. The principal of the school, Libby Lee-Hammond, said that the lack of internet made lessons difficult at times.
“There are days when we have no internet,” said Lee-Hammond.
“There’s a lot of education resources that are based online now, so it just prevents teachers from sometimes being able to deliver the program that they’ve planned.”
Another organisation working in the region that will be trialling the internet service is the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC). The AWC manages significant areas of land across the Kimberley and hoped to use the service to transmit important scientific data from the field.
The company began the trial back in August, prior to the rollout of full coverage. At the time, the primary concern from AWC was outages in the service at critical times.
Damien Kerr, chief IT officer of AWC, said until the system was proven they would not rely on it totally.
The full coverage roll-out announced just last week may well be the catalyst for what AWC is looking for, a more reliable and consistent system that will stand the test of the remote outback region.
Liam McAneny is a journalist who has written and edited for his University International Relations journal. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (International Relations) and Bachelor of Laws from the University of Wollongong in 2021. He joined Momentum Media in 2022 and currently writes for SpaceConnect and Australian Aviation. Liam has a keen interest in geopolitics and international relations as well as astronomy.
Send Liam an email at: [email protected]
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