Minter Ellison advised on Optus’ multi-million dollar deal with US firm Orbital Sciences Corporation to build two new satellites set for launch in the next few years.
The so called D-series satellites will carry pay TV signals for Australia and NZ as well as two-way voice and data communications, particularly to areas in Australasia without access to terrestrial telecommunications infrastructure.
Minters’ team worked closely with Optus’ in-house legal and technical teams to close the deal. The law firm’s team was led by David Meale and Keith Robinson. It also included Damien Bailey, Suzanne McPherson, Lucas Sork and Lou Lombardo.
Rhys Guild, Liz von Meunster and Jeremy Geale provided specialist assistance with GST and stamp duty issues. Orbital Science Corporation was advised by its own in-house lawyers.
The construction of the D-series follows the launch of the C-1 satellite in June last year.
After the announcement of the deal last month, Paul O’Sullivan, chief operating officer at Optus, said the decision to build two more satellites was largely a result of the higher than anticipated demand for the C-1 satellite. They will also replace two aging B-series satellites.
The high demand means a significant proportion of the two new satellites’ capacity is already pre-sold. Sky-TV has signed a 15-year deal to have Optus broadcast subscription TV services to its NZ customers and Foxtel has made commitments as well.
The D-series are expected to operate beyond 2020.