Telstra has signed an agreement with Elon Musk's Starlink in a bid to improve connectivity options for rural and remote customers in Australia.
In a world-first offering, the telco will be able to provide home phone service and Starlink broadband services to customers as a bundle offer.
Telstra CEO Vicki Brady said the agreement was part of the company’s T25 strategy commitment to launch a satellite product, with the voice and broadband options being available to consumer and business customers.
“Telstra is always looking to invest in new and better connectivity options for our customers. We know that collaborating with the right partners is one of the best ways to help unlock a digital future, in this case for people in rural and remote Australia looking for an improved voice or broadband service,” Ms Brady said.
“Our teams have been out across the country testing and trialling Low Earth Orbit satellite technology to ensure we understand where it’s the best solution for our consumer and business customers.
“What will set our offer apart is the addition of Telstra voice service, a professional install option and the ability to get local help with your set up if needed."
One of the benefits of LEO satellites are that they are much closer to Earth than geostationary satellites, with multiple satellites that are a part of a constellation, allowing them to send and receive signals much faster.
As well as offering improved data throughput, the proximity of these satellites reduces latency, making them a more consistent option for services that need low latency, like voice and video calls.
The latency, download speeds and general experience in most circumstances will be far superior to copper-based ADSL and be better suited for most modern connectivity needs.
Telstra regional Australia executive and regional customer advocate Loretta Willaton said adding LEO satellites to their outfit would bring them 'a big leap closer' to closing the digital divide that exists.
"Our network currently uses a mix of technologies to provide voice and broadband services in rural and remote Australia, including nbn fixed broadband, our mobile network and older copper and radio networks," Ms Willaton said.
"The addition of Starlink will provide an additional connectivity option for people and businesses in rural and remote locations where distance and terrain make it difficult to provide quality connectivity with existing terrestrial networks."
Telstra will announce pricing and device details closer to launch, which it expects to be in late 2023.