nbn has signed the first agreement for its Cell Site Access Service (CSAS) product. The deal with Vodafone Hutchison Australia will see the company become the National Broadband builder's first Cell Site Access Service (CSAS) customer.
Under the terms of the deal, Vodafone Hutchison Australia will switch on new coverage in Molong, New South Wales, by using tower sharing and fibre services supplied by the nbn network.
The Molong area was previously identified as one of the areas needing improved mobile coverage in phase one of the Federal Government’s Mobile Blackspot Program, and this arrangement marks it as the first blackspot area to be addressed directly with the help of nbn infrastructure and products.
Vodafone said its network investment in Molong is expected to bring 155 square kilometres of additional mobile phone coverage to the region, including coverage for over 860 homes in the region, and areas along the Mitchell Highway.
The nbn CSAS product allows mobile operators to use the nbn network to expand their mobile coverage "quickly and cost effectively".
The deployment sees Vodafone Australia install an extra set of antennas on the Molong nbn fixed-wireless tower and use the nbn CSAS product to carry the mobile voice and data signals back to the nbn Point of Interconnection (PoI) in Dubbo.
nbn chief customer officer, John Simon, said the CSAS product creates "further community benefits" in regional Australia from the rollout of the NBN.
“This is genuinely exciting news for the community of Molong and for nbn. The good thing about this is not just that we are helping to deliver a new service for end-users but also that we offering customers new products to help them extend their portfolio and spread their networks," Simon said.
“The nbn CSAS product also offers additional potential for operators including other wireless applications such as deployment of Wi-Fi or small cell coverage. By offering this new product and making the most of our network and existing infrastructure, nbn is delivering new value to the community,” he said.
Vodafone CEO, Iñaki Berroeta, said it is part of the company’s continued network investment to support growing demand for advanced mobile devices and services in the region.
“We are competing vigorously to improve and expand our service in regional Australia... By working with government and participating in the Mobile Black Spots Program, we are seeking to expand access to mobile coverage for regional Australians to help deliver all of the economic and social benefits it enables.”
In addition, Vodafone plans to switch on another site in Cumnock under the Mobile Black Spot Program before the end of the first quarter of 2017. It’s expected to deliver an additional 333 square kilometres of coverage between Molong and Cumnock, as well as up to Cundumbul and up towards Garra and Amaroo.