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The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester says increased data allowances for satellite internet services in rural and remote areas will help prevent internet cost blow-outs.

Mr Chester has welcomed an announcement from NBN Co that it would provide increased data allowances for Australians who use Sky Muster satellite services.

“I am regularly contacted by people who live in remote parts of Gippsland and can only access the internet by satellite. They are often frustrated because they exceed their data limit simply by doing their banking,” Mr Chester said.

“By removing the data cap, households will be able to use the internet each day for normal tasks like checking email, searching for information and ordering supplies, without worrying about reaching their data limit.”

The new NBN product, called Sky Muster Plus, will provide unmetered monthly data for web-browsing, email and software updates. It’s expected to be available in 2019. Sky Muster Plus will also have the ability to ‘burst’ to download speeds above 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) when there is spare capacity on the network.

Mr Chester said reliable communication infrastructure supported local jobs and helped businesses, including farming enterprises, to expand and invest in Gippsland and its people.

“We want to grow our regions and strengthen our communities. The ability to communicate, including through the internet, is key to growing businesses and new investment and it’s vital to attracting new residents,” Mr Chester said.

“Connectivity in all its forms has become critical to daily life. The ability to stay connected will underpin job opportunities and the social fabric of our regions for decades to come.”

The Federal Government has invested around $2 billion in the Sky Muster satellites and NBN Co is looking at more ways to help people living in rural and remote Australia.

“Under this government, 98 per cent of premises in regional areas can access NBN services or have network construction underway,” Mr Chester said.

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