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.
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)
The technology we utilised 5 years ago, that delivered speeds of around 256kbps, is no longer viable today. Consequently, we cannot assume that what we use today will be adequate in the next few years. We expect that fibre will allow for growth and development in the future. 93% of Australian premises will be connected by fibre and will receive a high-speed broadband network that will provide superfast speeds.
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
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.
While forecasting for future trends is difficult, the pattern of growth is clear and it will become progressively difficult for any non-fibre delivery platform to support future demands for speed and capacity, based on the current technology upgrade maps for each technology.
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.
People in homes, small businesses and indigenous communities in some of the most remote areas of Australia will be among the first users of a new broadband satellite service provided over the NBN.
NBN Co's Interim Satellite Service will be available to eligible individuals and small businesses on the mainland and across Tasmania from July 2011, with the first priority being given to those who currently have no alternate access to broadband services. Eligible households, small businesses and communities will then need to order their service via a participating retail service provider.
For more information on the Interim satellite service:
*The speeds actually experienced by end-users via fibre, fixed wireless or satellite will depend on a number of factors including the retail broadband plan they choose, their equipment and their in premises connection.