Monday, 20 April 2015 12:07

NBN Co: faster bush wireless speeds in pilot Featured

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NBN Co has announced a nationwide pilot to ‘significantly boost’ broadband speeds for rural and regional fixed wireless users.

From May 2015, NBN Co is piloting faster wholesale upload and download speeds for fixed wireless users on the current highest speed tier.

The download speeds will be between 25 and 50Mbps, which is double the current wholesale offering.

Access to the pilot is not automatic - it will be at the discretion of individual ISPs, so those customers who feel they qualify might want to contact their ISP to express that they feel the need, the need for speed, and ask if they can sit in the pilot seat, as it were.

NBN Co advises that it is ‘designing the NBN to provide these speeds to our wholesale customers, telephone and ISPs,’ and advises that ‘end user experience including the speeds actually achieved over the NBN depends on the technology over which services are delivered to the premises and some factors outside our control like the end user’s equipment quality, software, broadband plans and how the end user’s service provider designs its network.’

Those on the pilot in the qualifying tier should also benefit from faster wholesale upload speeds ‘between 5 and 20Mbps’.

Tony Cross, NBN Co’s Chief Architect said: “The fixed wireless network already offers people living and working in the bush access to broadband speeds that those in cities take for granted. 

“However the speed pilot is designed to allow rural and regional families and businesses to access speeds up to twice as fast as ADSL2+ users can experience in capital cities.

“It opens up the exciting prospect of even greater participation in the digital economy by families and businesses in rural and regional Australia.”

NBN Co has provided some additional information, noting that:

  • The pilot is expected to conclude 20 business days after the commercial launch of the 25-50Mbps /5- 20Mbps wholesale speed tier product, unless otherwise determined by NBN Co.
  • Commercial launch of the speed tier product is scheduled for Q4 2015 according to the NBN Co’s latest Integrated Product Roadmap.
  • Participation in the pilot is not automatic and is at the discretion of individual service providers.
  • The exact number of premises as well as the exact areas covered by the pilot may vary once NBN Co has finalised its planning.
  • The speeds referred to are wholesale peak speeds to the NBN Co network boundary point and therefore the ranged speed is not a maximum / minimum limit.

At the end of the NBN rollout, NBN Co expects over 600,000 premises will be able to access fast fixed wireless broadband, and says that this is already available to ‘almost 200,000 homes and businesses’.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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