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Delivering a better broadband experience for the bush

4-minute read

Around 24,000 homes and businesses in regional and remote Australia can now access nbn’s expanded and upgraded Fixed Wireless network for the first time.

The best way to appreciate the power of the nbn® network to lift the digital capability of Australia is to experience it first-hand.

Around 24,000 homes and businesses in regional and remote Australia are now able to do just that as they gain access to nbn’s expanded and upgraded Fixed Wireless network.

As we announced last week, these premises are just the first of the 120,000 homes and businesses currently within nbn’s Sky Muster satellite footprint that are, for the first time, eligible to connect to an nbn Fixed Wireless service.

So, what can these potential new customers who choose to sign up expect?

An aerial view of an nbn Fixed Wireless tower in regional Australia

An nbn Fixed Wireless tower in regional Australia

Further planned enhancements to the Fixed Wireless network

These enhancements will enable faster and more consistent speeds overall across the Fixed Wireless network, including in the evening. This will allow more people to be online at the same time to work, study, and stream with less buffering.

By combining 4G technology and software enhancements with the introduction of next generation 5G mmWave technology we’re not only able to boost the capability and reach of our Fixed Wireless network, we are transforming the way people access broadband internet in regional Australia.

And this is just the beginning.

These homes and businesses will become part of a family of around 750,000 premises overall covered by the expanded Fixed Wireless footprint – which are expected to benefit from further planned enhancements to their network to be rolled out progressively throughout the program.

The initiative is part of a joint $750 million investment with the Australian Government in our Fixed Wireless network aimed at delivering a better broadband experience to homes and businesses across rural, regional and remote Australia.

As populations in our regions grow, those who live on the land and the communities that support them, know that connectivity is more important than ever.

It is the gateway to access remote healthcare and distance education; the connection that enables rural entrepreneurs to take on the world and the means to enjoy online entertainment just like residents of our capital cities.

Australia’s digital backbone

As the digital backbone of the nation, we know that customers across our entire network are demanding more speed and more data.

This is especially so in the bush, where we expect data usage to surge more than 300 per cent over the next decade.

That’s why, as customer need grows, so does our response.

Through a combination of investment, upgrade and innovation, we are committed to getting more out of our network.

It’s the reason we have given great thought to the initial locations across Australia where homes and businesses can access our enhanced and expanded Fixed Wireless network – prioritising those located in heavily used parts of the nbn satellite footprint and their proximity to existing nbn Fixed Wireless towers.

This is just the latest in a string of initiatives we’ve outlined recently aimed at boosting broadband access and experience in the bush, including:

  • An additional one million households and businesses eligible to choose faster and more reliable broadband under our full fibre to the premises rollout, with up to 58 per cent of these located in regional areas.# †
  • The recent signing of a co-investment agreement with the NSW government which will deliver new Fixed Wireless Services to 46 communities across regional NSW.
  • Trialling of a new Sky Muster Plus plan aimed at delivering 100 per cent unmetered data usage and faster burst speeds of up to 100Mbps for up to 10,000 Sky Muster Plus customers located across Australia from around the middle of this year. The trial will be subject to fair use restrictions, and features of any final product are subject to change.

nbn's Jason Ashton, Executive General Manager, Fixed Wireless and Satellite with Emilio Romeo, Head of Ericsson Australia and New Zealand

Jason Ashton, Executive General Manager, Fixed Wireless and Satellite at nbn (left) with Emilio Romeo, Head of Ericsson Australia and New Zealand (right)

New higher speed tiers

nbn is upgrading the Fixed Wireless network to be capable of delivering a typical evening (7-11pm) download speeds overall across the network of at least 50Mbps by around the end of 2024.§

These enhancements are also being supported by the introduction of two new wholesale higher speed plans on the Fixed Wireless network next year.

  • Fixed Wireless Home Fast will be available to 100 per cent of the expanded Fixed Wireless coverage area and deliver a wholesale peak information rate of 100-130Mbps downlink speed and an uplink speed of 8-20Mbps.§
  • Fixed Wireless Superfast will be available to approximately 85 per cent of the expanded Fixed Wireless coverage area and deliver a wholesale peak information rate of 200-325Mbps downlink speed and an uplink speed of 8-20Mbps.§

None of the work I’ve outlined here is being done in isolation.

It is part of a comprehensive strategy to evolve our network and products, to deliver the social and economic benefits that having access to fast and reliable broadband has to offer – no matter where people live across Australia.

Important Notes

# NBN Co reserves the right to amend the list of targeted suburbs and towns for the local fibre network build at its discretion if circumstances change and if absolutely necessary.

Conditions, eligibility criteria and costs will apply. Eligibility criteria is expected to include, among other things, being designated by nbn as a simple premises (eg. standalone premises or Single Dwelling Unit (SDU)) and once the program is available for an eligible premises, placing an order for an nbn powered plan based on an eligible wholesale speed tier. Additional costs may apply to providers, who may choose to pass this charge onto their customers. Not all providers offer plans based on the full range of wholesale speed tiers. Talk to your preferred provider for more information about availability and the right solution for your needs.

The Fair Use Policy will continue to apply and nbn may, at its discretion, shape certain types of traffic (in particular gaming/software updates and cloud uploads in the evening) to slow speeds, if required, to protect the network. For details on fair use conditions, contact your internet service provider.

§ Actual end customer speed will vary across the network as a number of factors influence this, including the particular customer applications in use at the time, equipment software and in-home wiring, and the number of concurrent users on the nbn Fixed Wireless service.