Fibre, fixed wireless and satellite

NBN Co is committed to delivering the leading edge broadband service to all Australians by leveraging the three types of technology available - fibre, fixed wireless and satellite, depending on location.

A diagram of how Fibre, fixed wireless and satellite works

Our fibre network

As new devices and applications continue to rapidly drive bandwidth demand and usage growth, NBN Co is developing the future-proof solution that will enable access to superfast broadband regardless of where you live. Our network will also enable Australia to catch up with the rest of the world and prepare itself for future technological advances.

More and more people are using the Internet as a part of their daily lives. The average per user monthly volume of traffic downloaded on a fixed broadband connection increased 21% to 9.2GB in the six months to June 2010*. This continues the long-term trend of circa 50% annual growth in internet traffic, a trend consistent with international online behaviour.
*(According to the ABS' Internet Activity Study)

Bandwidth demand

Download speeds have increased exponentially since 1985, driven by the emergence of new cost-effective delivery technologies that take advantage of the availability of higher speeds. As illustrated, if the historic rate of increase is maintained over the next 15 years, download speeds in 2025 will be in excess of 1Gbps.
*Source: NBN Co, Alcatel - Lucent

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What technology do we use

There are currently five main technologies being used to deliver broadband to residential consumers in Australia: Telstra's copper network (ADSL; ADSL 2+), Telstra and Optus HFC networks, Fibre, Wireless and Satellite.

Whilst each of these technologies is able to compete effectively for a share of the broadband market at relatively low average expected user speeds, technologies, other than fibre, have technical limitations that make delivery at higher speeds increasingly difficult.

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Bandwidth and delivery technology

Fixed wireless

Because of the size of our country, we will need to use fixed wireless and satellite technology to connect those premises that do not fall into the fibre footprint.

We will utilise fixed wireless technology because we can develop a reliable service by building a network for a more predictable number of users in a given area. The antennas used are generally fixed and installed so that they are directed towards the fixed wireless base station. With mobile wireless the number of users in a cell can vary widely, and the strength of the signal change as you move closer or further away from base station.

This technology will be available in specific areas as part of our suite of technologies to ensure we can provide high-speed broadband to all Australians.

Satellite

NBN Co’s Interim Satellite Service was launched on 1 July 2011 to provide access to broadband services to people in homes, small businesses and indigenous communities in some of the most remote areas of Australia. Capacity has been reached on the Interim Satellite Service and it is not possible to register for, or order, a new service. 

The Interim Satellite Service is a temporary measure until NBN Co launches its own Long Term Satellite Service scheduled for 2015.  Once NBN Co’s own satellites are in service, they are intended to provide high-speed broadband coverage to eligible premises across mainland Australia and Tasmania as well as outback areas and Australia’s islands including Lord Howe Island, Norfolk Island, Macquarie Island, Cocos and Christmas Island.