As the market size for satellite services in Australia and New Zealand experiences strong
growth- especially for direct-to-home broadcasting and High Definition and 3D services.- Optus continues to launch satellites, intent on securing, and providing for, this expanding number of users.
If you were on the receiving end of loosing a nights viewing on SKY
in April 2006 and in May 2005 you would be glad to see some method of providing backup for services in orbit.
The way Optus designed the D-series was to go down the path of choosing two small
satellites rather than buying one large one. It gives them the ability to put additional capacity at OPTUS’s hot bird location for Australia, at 156 - that's where the C1 satellite now is. - The D2
satellite, will be co-located with C1. D2 will have a broadcast services payload, so it operates at a different frequency band, but one which is directly compatible with the existing C1 frequency
band. The value of this is for the Australian consumers' is that it just needs to have a wide band receiver, and it can actually receive signals from either D2 or C1..with the same installation.
The D series satellites give OPTUS the ability to add payload to the 156º orbit location,
which is the Australian hot bird location, and at the same time replace B1, which is at 160º, and that's where all the New Zealand dishes are pointing. This will give continuity of service for New
Zealand at 160, as well as growth capacity for the Australian market at 156º.
OPTUS as well has on C1 / D3 a New Zealand back up capability, so in the event that
something happened to D1, the Sky NZ could be partially restored immediately on C1.
If you have looked at the new SKY dishes, you will have seen installed dual beam LNB
dishes so the consumer's installation actually looks at both 160 and 156 simultaneously. In the unlikely event of the loss of the spacecraft (historically an extremely rare event), the services could be
restored in short time.
C1 as well as the new D3 satellites are parked in the same spot in space. Their
commercial payload is predominantly used for direct-to-home TV broadcasting in Australia (with Foxtel being Optus' largest customer), as well as for providing remote area broadcasting services
(RABS) of local ABC, SBS and commercial TV content. The Australian equivalent of Freeview New Zealand is called VAST. This service requires a dedicated Satellite receiver and a dedicated card.
Currently using Optus C1 satellite
D1 and D2 satellites on the other hand, will cover Australia and New Zealand, being very much designed for these local domestic markets.