nbn’s Fixed Wireless and Satellite Upgrade Program
The Fixed Wireless and Satellite Upgrade Program will benefit homes and businesses across Australia, the majority in regional areas.
It will expand the reach of the existing nbn Fixed Wireless footprint by at least 50 per cent, as well as enabling two new high speed Fixed Wireless plans – 100 Mbps and 250 Mbps*. nbn is currently in the process of consulting with industry in relation to the launch of the higher speed tiers.
The additional capacity and reach available on the upgraded network will enable up to 120,000 existing nbn Sky Muster satellite-only premises to access nbn Fixed Wireless for the first time. The program has also delivered enhanced data limits across the nbn Sky Muster satellite network.
Delivery is underway
First 1000 customers moved to nbn Fixed Wireless
In early October, we enabled more than 1,000 homes and businesses in the satellite footprint that do not have a current nbn connection to move to the nbn Fixed Wireless footprint. These homes and businesses are now eligible to order an nbn Fixed Wireless service via a participating phone and internet provider.
By enabling these locations, we have been able to test that we can successfully complete the migrations. We are aiming to migrate more premises mid-next year and the full 120,000 by the end of 2024.
Upgrading our Fixed Wireless towers
Across nbn’s Fixed Wireless network, the program will deliver more coverage and provide access to higher speeds**.
To deliver these improvements for customers, we need to upgrade our Fixed Wireless towers.
This includes using 4G technology and software enhancements, as well as introducing 5G mmWave technology, to extend the range, speed and capacity of the existing network to deliver improved customer experience**.
nbn will be among the first in the world to deploy 5G mmWave technology at this scale for a dedicated Fixed Wireless network.
It’s part of our commitment to be always looking ahead – investing in network innovation today, so Australia is well placed to meet the digital challenges of tomorrow. After upgrades are completed, we expect that many customers should experience an improvement in speeds and reliability on their nbn Fixed Wireless service**.
Delivering on this commitment safely is paramount.
The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) has stated that there are no established short term or long term health effects to people or the environment from radio waves at the power levels used for 5G.
nbn is committed to the safe deployment of broadband to serve the needs of customers across Australia now and into the future.
The work to improve the customer experience on our Fixed Wireless network has already begun and some communities may experience outages while these important upgrades take place.
We will minimise the disruption to customers by conducting the works between 10pm and 10am on weeknights, or where necessary between 6am and 6pm on weekends. Customers will be notified of the outages via their phone and internet providers.
The status page on nbn’s website will also have the latest information.
The tower works will not impact nbn fixed line or nbn Sky Muster satellite services.
Homes and businesses in the nbn Fixed Wireless coverage area that do not currently have a connection but want to take advantage of the upcoming upgrades can get connected by contacting their preferred phone and internet service provider.
Updating in-home equipment
In addition to upgrading our towers, nbn devices at some premises that receive the Fixed Wireless signals may need to be replaced to take advantage of the new technology.
nbn will work with phone and internet providers to identify those that need replacing and will contact customers. Not all devices will need to be replaced.
nbn Sky Muster Plus enhancements
On 1 July 2022, we launched enhanced data limits on the nbn Sky Muster Plus satellite service.
People connected to an nbn Sky Muster Plus satellite service can access Virtual Private Networks (VPN) and video streaming for 16 hours a day – between 12am (midnight) and 4pm – without it counting toward their monthly data allowance***.
Previously, all VPN and video streaming counted towards a customer's monthly data allowance, regardless of the time of day. All other activities like online shopping, emails, and internet banking, audio streaming, video calling, and Wi-Fi calling will not count towards their monthly data allowance for the full 24 hours a day.
This is a major improvement for customers and responds to their calls for more data. The improvements will also come at no extra wholesale cost.
Homes and businesses in the nbn satellite coverage area that do not currently have a connection but want one to take advantage of these upgrades can get connected by contacting their preferred phone and internet provider.
Consulting with our phone and internet providers
In August this year, we began consultation with phone and internet providers and consumer advocacy groups on the design of the high-speed tiers for Fixed Wireless. The consultation is an important step and helps us ensure we get the products and features right before we launch them.
This consultation is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year. I look forward to sharing more news soon.
We have made great progress to date but there is much more work to do.
The team is busy developing plans to both continue the migration of eligible nbn Sky Muster satellite premises to nbn’s Fixed Wireless network and launch our enhanced speeds.
From mid-2023, we expect that we will start to move the eligible 120,000 premises currently in the nbn satellite footprint to the expanded nbn Fixed Wireless footprint and offer enhanced busy hour speeds and higher speed tiers. We will release new details next year, once the consultation is completed.
I’m pleased to say, we are on track to deliver the program by the end of 2024.
* nbn is a wholesaler and end customers should contact their preferred service provider to ask about availability. Any new speed tiers or changes to Fixed Wireless products is subject to consultation with industry which may alter the design, contractual terms, product specifications and/or go-to-market approach.
** Your experience, including the speeds actually achieved over the nbn® network, depends on the nbn® access network technology and configuration over which services are delivered to your premises, whether you are using the internet during the busy period, and some factors outside nbn’s control (like your equipment quality, software, broadband plan, signal reception, and (with the exception of Sky Muster Plus™) how your service provider designs its network). Speeds may also be impacted by the number of concurrent users on the nbn® Fixed Wireless network, including during busy periods.
***Exclusions and fair use conditions apply. If you’re accessing your connection via a Virtual Private Network (VPN) between 4pm and 12am midnight, all activities will count towards your monthly data allowance. For more information on which traffic may be shaped to proactively protect the nbn broadband access and ensure fair access to the network for all users, and exclusions, visit nbnco.com.au/skymuster-plus or speak to your internet service provider. For details on fair use conditions, contact your internet service provider.