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UK provider buys SkyMesh, has eyes on NBN market

SkyMesh Australia's largest provider of NBN satellite services, has been acquired by UK provider Satellite Solutions Worldwide. The deal was part of a dual acquisition that included Norwegian satellite provider Breiband, with the total cost coming in at around A$20 million (£11.7 million).

The acquisition was announced on the London Stock Exchange on Friday evening Australian time and confirmed to CommsDay over the weekend. SSW has reappointed SkyMesh MD Paul Rees to run the company and chair the board. The SkyMesh senior management team have agreed to remain in their current roles, while all staff will retain their current positions and salaries.

SSW operates satellite broadband services across Europe in 31 countries. Last month it completed the acquisition of UK ISP Avonline for £12 million, while the combined Breiband and SkyMesh customer base of around 41,000 customers is expected to more than double SSW's existing global customer base to over 75,000 customers.

SSW CEO Andrew Walwyn said that the company had moved from being a relatively small operator to one of the largest in Europe since it floated on the London exchange 16 months ago. He also noted SkyMesh's involvement in the NBN as one of the key attractions of the deal.

“SkyMesh is already benefiting greatly from the Australian government's investment in satellite infrastructure to bridge the digital divide within its country. I believe this will provide significant organic growth in the future through SkyMesh in Australia and beyond,” Walwyn said.

In the latest NBN wholesale market indicators report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, SkyMesh was the leading acquirer of wholesale satellite services on the NBN. The company also provides NBN fixed wireless connections and some fibre services. With the funding injection from SSW, SkyMesh is planning to expand its reach to all NBN points of interconnect – something it has been constrained from doing in the past due to finances.

The company also plans to expand beyond satellite into each of the NBN access products. The company told CommsDay that it is in the process of on-boarding for HFC and will continue to on-board for all other NBN technologies. SkyMesh will remain at its current base in the Brisbane inner suburb of Fortitude Valley, with plans to double its office space in preparation for taking on more staff and growing the business.

The company also said that its call centre would remain in Fortitude Valley, although in future it could join with the UK team to offer 24-hour call centre services. Geoff Long Commsday