First communities for NBN fixed wireless service unveiled
Network serving half a million Australian premises scheduled for completion by 2015
Communities in five states and territories are set to become the first in the country to receive the National Broadband Network via NBN Co's high-speed fixed wireless service.
The first to receive the service will be homes, businesses and institutions in the less densely populated rural and regional communities that surround Geraldton (WA), Toowoomba (Qld), Tamworth (NSW), Ballarat (Vic) and Darwin (NT).
Customers in these areas are expected to be able to sign up with retail service providers to use the network, which uses the latest 4G technology, from the middle of next year.
The network is designed to deliver wholesale access speeds of up to 12Mbps*. NBN Co anticipates higher speeds becoming available as technology advances and the network is upgraded.
The fixed wireless component of the NBN rollout is expected to be completed by 2015 and aims to pass approximately half a million homes and business, four percent of the nation's total addressable premises. The timetable means that the fixed wireless rollout of the National Broadband Network is expected to be completed significantly earlier than the rollout of fibre optic cable.
To build the network will require the use of around 2300 masts. Where possible existing telecommunications masts will be used. Planning for the rollout is now underway and consultations have begun with local authorities representing the selected communities.
A fixed wireless service differs from mobile wireless networks in that it is designed to serve a precisely designated number of homes and businesses, each with a wireless receiver affixed to their premise. This enables NBN Co to deliver a more predictable level of service performance to premises in the specific coverage area compared to a mobile wireless network which is focussed on mobility.
Releasing the indicative maps of NBN Co's first five fixed wireless locations, the company's Chief Technology Officer, Gary McLaren said:
“The job of the National Broadband Network is to ensure every Australian has access to improved broadband, no matter whether they live in the city or the bush. The latest fixedwireless technology will allow us to deliver improved broadband access to those living in many smaller towns and sparsely populated areas.
"Those receiving our fixed-wireless service will benefit from the latest 4G fixed wireless technology. While wireless spectrum is shared between users, fixed wireless allows us to plan a network for a relatively predictable number of users in a given area. This permits greater consistency in the speed and quality of service the NBN Co network will provide to each home and business."
Today's announcement follows the awarding last month to Ericsson of a 10-year $1.1 billion contract to design, build and operate NBN Co's 4G fixed wireless network.
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NOTES TO EDITORS
- Maps of the indicative coverage areas for the first five fixed wireless locations are available at www.nbnco.com.au
- Fixed wireless is wireless delivery of internet to the premises. Customers' computers and telecommunications equipment will connect to a modem which is physically connected to a transmitter pointed at a base station. Typically, the wireless transmitter is attached to the outside of a building.
- NBN Co's fixed wireless service will be provided on a wholesale basis to retail service providers. These retail telecommunications providers are expected to develop a range of packages and plans to sell to consumers and businesses.
- NBN Co plans to offer retail service providers wholesale broadband services designed for speeds of up to 12/1 megabits per second (Mbps)* at a uniform national wholesale access price of $24 a month across all three broadband technologies.
- In fixed wireless and satellite service areas NBN Co will only be providing a broadband service. It will not be providing dedicated voice port equipment in these areas.
Retail service providers that offer fixed-wireless and satellite services acquired wholesale from NBN Co may elect to offer their customers voice-over-broadband products. Under the agreement entered into between NBN Co and Telstra, Telstra will not be obliged to decommission its copper line to premises which will be served by the NBN Co fixed-wireless and satellite service and are outside NBN Co's fibre to the premises network.
Under a separate agreement between Telstra and the Australian Government, which commences on 1 July 2012, Telstra is required to maintain its existing copper network in areas outside of NBN Co's fibre to the premises network to deliver the standard telephone service Universal Service Obligation. Further detail on this agreement is available at http://www.dbcde.gov.au/broadband/national_broadband_network/universal_service_policy
- The National Broadband Network is designed to serve 100 per cent of the nation's addressable premises as follows:
Technology % of addressable premises served Estimated completion date Estimated wholesale access speeds* Fibre optic cable 93% 2021 Up to 12-100 Mbps* Fixed wireless 4% 2015 Up to 12 Mbps* Satellite 3% 2015 Up to 12 Mbps* (6 Mbps* for interim satellite solution)
* Speeds experienced by end-users will depend on a number of factors including the retail broadband plan they choose, their equipment and their in-premises connection.