More than half a million homes, farms and businesses eligible to receive the NBN’s fixed wireless and long term satellite services will be able to take advantage of wholesale download speeds of up to 25 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 5 Mbps. The faster speeds are planned to be available over the fixed wireless network as early as June this year. The Long Term Satellite Service is scheduled to launch in 2015.
In a boost to rural communities, the new speed tier will provide wholesale upload speeds up to five times faster than available to satellite and fixed wireless users over the NBN today (1 Mbps). It will also deliver double the wholesale download speeds currently available over the fixed wireless service (12 Mbps) and a more than threefold increase in wholesale download speeds compared to today’s Interim satellite service (currently 6 Mbps).
In addition, the wholesale prices for internet service providers who retail NBN packages to rural broadband users will be pegged at the same rate as they are for fibre users in the cities: $27 per month for the 25/5Mbps service and $24 for the 12/1Mbps service respectively. NBN Co says it has already committed to reducing wholesale broadband prices in real terms.
NBN Co Chief Executive Mike Quigley said every home and business in Australia will have access to fast internet at speeds as good as or faster than ADSL2+ services available in metropolitan areas. “That will give people in the most isolated parts of the country access to economic and social opportunities that the rest of the country takes for granted.
“For instance, faster speeds will allow people in regional communities to work from home like they would from a big city office, access video-based health services and make high-quality video calls to family and friends. Just as importantly, the NBN is helping to foster real competition, and that drives affordable prices for consumers. Every provider has equal access to the network and NBN Co’s prices are the same in the city and the bush.”
The rollout of the fixed wireless and long term satellite services aim to cover around seven per cent of the nation’s premises. Both are on track to be substantially completed by the end of 2015. The rollout of the optical fibre network is scheduled to be completed by 2021, though if the Federal Opposition wins the next election they just might have something to say about that.