While debate rages on about the rollout of fibre in urban and regional centres, many rural Australians are set to receive the NBN via a wireless connection. And the network announced some good news on that front on Thursday.
At an event in Ballarat, the NBN launched a new 100Mbps speed tier for fixed wireless connections. This means that, when the product is released to retailers early next year, residents and businesses in areas not viable for physical street connections will theoretically have access to speeds similar to their urban counterparts.
NBN chief Bill Morrow said that the company’s fixed wireless network is “a genuine world leader”.
“This is just one more example of NBN’s flexibility to introduce technology advancements without slowing down the rollout. It fits neatly into the upgrade path for fixed wireless and ensures we meet our commitment to provide a network for the future regardless of technology.”
The existing wireless NBN offers 50Mbps download and 20Mbps upload as its fastest tier, and covers 482,246 premises. Among those, 168,184 premises have connected to the NBN through a retailer.
Customers that end up signing up for the new 100Mbps (40Mbps upload) tier will have a new network device developed by Ericsson, NetComm and Qualcomm deployed into their home to allow for NBN’s adoption of carrier aggregation technology to achieve such speeds.
For those physically connecting to fibre on their street, the top widely available speed tier remains 100/40Mbps – although there are now retailers selling 200Mbps plans for a premium. However, most Australians so far have resisted buying the top speed tier through their retailer, with 25Mbps remaining the most popular product as a balance between performance and cost.