Our role connecting millions of Australians from space

The new frontier of telecommunications infrastructure is being built in space using satellite technology, and we’re helping to make it a reality.
David Burns · 02 February 2022 · 3 minute read

Today we announced a partnership with global satellite communications company, Viasat, to support its new Asia Pacific satellite constellation covering 4.1 billion people in 48 countries including Australia, which is more than half the global population.

We will be supporting the third part of ViaSat-3: a three-part global satellite “constellation” covering the America’s, Europe and now Asia-Pacific. The 16.5 year deal is a first-of-its-kind infrastructure build for Telstra and makes Viasat one of Telstra’s largest customers.

Satellite technology has the potential to connect more people in hard-to-reach places around the globe. Almost half the world’s population has no access to the internet, and fewer than one in five people in the least developed nations are connected, as highlighted in the World Economic Forum's article on how COVID-19 exposed the digital divide.

ViaSat-3 is a game-changer, and with our support, will help to connect even the most far-flung reaches of the Asia Pacific region.

It’s part of the reason Viasat is building its global constellation to connect the unconnected, and to support a more digital, technology-led future.

How is Telstra helping?

While Viasat will focus on building and launching the satellites into space, our job is to build the infrastructure on the ground.

That means co-locating Viasat’s satellite access node (SAN) equipment at hundreds of our sites across Australia and building and managing high-speed fibre links to each site. The network will also connect the SAN sites to over a dozen data centres that will house the core networking equipment needed to manage the expected increase in data traffic.

The ViaSat-3 satellite has over 1Tbps of total network capacity and is capable of delivering data and video streaming at a speed of more than 150Mbps.

Why are we getting involved?

A satellite is basically a self-contained communications system in space that uses radio waves to send and receive signals to antennas on Earth. For a satellite to deliver communications to people on the ground, it needs to interact with on-the-ground infrastructure.

In fact lots of technology we use today relies on satellite connectivity, including watching TV, using your phone, getting weather updates or even using your GPS system. Commercial airlines are using it now to enable wifi access on planes, and satellite communications has long been used by Defence as well.

A big advantage of satellite technology is that it offers cost-effective coverage to hard-to-reach places and huge capacity, which is important as data-rich technologies like edge computing, new 5G use cases and IoT become more mainstream.

There are three types of satellite technology that are named after the different orbits they operate in including LEO (Low Earth Orbit), MEO (Medium Earth Orbit), and GEO (Geostationary or Geosynchronous Orbit (GEO).

Viasat is the global leader in GEO satellite technology and its ViaSat-3 constellation will cover the entire world with three massive satellites.

The partnership is an important step in our growth strategy leveraging our Enterprise experience in customer management and Telstra InfraCo’s industry leading infrastructure assets. And for Australian businesses and communities, this project will help us keep up with increasing demand for data so that more Australians can participate in the growing digital economy.


By David Burns

Group Executive, Telstra Enterprise

David Burns has three decades of experience in the telecommunications and technology sectors, having held a variety of strategic roles with IBM across Australia, the Asia Pacific region, North America and the United Kingdom, before joining Telstra in 2012.

As Group Executive, Telstra Enterprise, David is responsible for revenues in excess of $8bn, managing a growing business that delivers leading connectivity, platforms, applications and tailored industry solutions and services to Telstra's enterprise and government customers. The role is also responsible for Enterprise's international customers and operations across 20 countries, including the largest subsea cable network in the Asia Pacific region.

Prior to leading Telstra Enterprise, David was Group Executive, Global Business Services, responsible for establishing and delivering scaled support services and enablement functions to all of Telstra and service operations for Telstra customers. Since joining the company, he has also overseen Telstra’s International Business as well as the NAS (Network & Application Services) business.

Prior to joining Telstra, David was General Manager, IBM Global Technology Services (GTS). Based in London, he was responsible for IBM’s IT services and outsourcing sales and delivery functions for the United Kingdom and Ireland. He has also held a number of industry facing roles at IBM covering the financial services, utilities and government sectors, in Tokyo and New York.

David began his career as a marketing representative at IBM in Adelaide. He holds a Bachelor of Business, Marketing and Entrepreneurship from the South Australian Institute of Technology, now the University of South Australia.

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