NBN wireless just hit 11 times the speed of most fibre connections

Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

The National Broadband Network today revealed that its fixed wireless technology has reached 1.1Gbps download speed in a trial that promises improved services for country areas currently battling to match the performance of big cities.

That “gigabit” speed is 11 times faster than 100Mbps, the fastest retail speed tier currently available for most city dwellers connected with fibre optic cables. The same demonstration — performed in Ballarat, Victoria – achieved a 165Mbps upload speed.

The NBN last month announced its intention to double its top fixed wireless speed from the current 50Mbps to 100Mbps next year. The new 1.1Gbps capability remains in development for possible future deployment.

Regional Australia Institute chief executive Jack Archer hailed the trial results as a new way to entice Australians to move away from metropolitan areas.

“This will help make the regional dream possible in the future for a lot more Australians in a lot more places,” he said.

“Plenty of Australians would love the chance to move away from the big cities and have an improved quality of life in regional Australia. However, one of the main impediments to doing this is being able to stay connected to your workplace unless you have access to good quality broadband.”

The NBN reached the gigabit speed by “bonding” together 3 wireless network devices that received a signal through an antenna on the roof of a school. At the other end, additional equipment was added to an existing NBN wireless tower.

NBN chief executive Bill Morrow said that the “stunning” results showed the organisation’s intention to improve its technology “as and when they are needed”.

“Our fixed wireless network has already been recognised as a world leader and we are determined to maintain that position by making sure regional Australians get access to the same high speed broadband available in our cities,” he said.

For city users with physical connections via fibre on the street, the top widely available speed tier remains 100/40Mbps – although there are now retailers selling 200Mbps plans at 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.

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