NBN Co plans fixed wireless overhaul as spectrum shifts

NBN Co plans fixed wireless overhaul as spectrum shifts

New Fixed Wireless Plus will eventually offer speeds of 75Mbps

Credit: NBN Co

NBN Co is planning to abandon one of its legacy wireless products in its latest overhaul of the National Broadband Network (NBN).

The company is set to launch Fixed Wireless Plus, a wholesale service that will provide up to 75 Mbps downloads by 2020.

As part of the overhaul, NBN Co will stop selling its 25-50/5-20 Mbps speed tier and launch a service initially supporting maximum network download speeds of up to 60Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps.

As reported by Computerworld, 73 per cent of the company’s fixed wireless end users were on the 25/5Mbps wholesale speed tier, while 11 per cent were on the 50/20Mbps tier by the end of September.

Wholesale pricing for the Fixed Wireless Plus product will match NBN Co’s Fixed-Line 50 bundle at $45.

The new service will launch in mid-2019 and follows a government edict to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) for providers to use synchronised configuration for their devices.

In directions to ACMA, minister for communications Mitch Fifield told spectrum users that operate services in the 3.4GHz to 3.6GHz bands - such as the NBN - to adopt standard network configuration in order to maximise efficient use of the spectrum as 5G rolls out.

The announcement also follows long-running criticism of fixed wireless speeds in rural and regional Australia.

Earlier this month, the 2018 Regional Telecommunications Review claimed rural areas were struggling with degraded networks due to higher-than-expected user numbers.

“We acknowledge there are some users are currently experiencing slower speeds than anticipated in the busy hour on the fixed wireless network and want to reassure people that we are working hard alongside the industry to improve network capacity,” said Brad Whitcomb, NBN Co chief customer officer for residential.

“We are committed to delivering access to fast broadband for regional and rural Australians and are investing in our fixed wireless network.”

Last August, NBN Co announced an extra $800 million upgrade to the fixed wireless portion of the NBN, aiming to fix 3300 cells by next year.

Earlier this week, it was revealed that NBN Co has been given a further three years to pay off a loan from the government.

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Tags nbn coAustralian Communications and Media AuthorityFixed Wireless Plus


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