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NBN Co completes 4G spectrum spend

While ACMA is yet to resolve TV interference issues

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NBN Co has secured spots of regional spectrum in Western Australia, the Northern Territory, South Australia, outback Queensland and far west New South Wales for AU$1.3m. The spectrum will bolster its high-speed wireless broadband services rollout.

NBN Co secured it at the Australian Communications and Media Authority spectrum auction.

The auction purchase augments the 2.3 GHz and 3.4 GHz spectrum licences NBN Co purchased earlier in the year from Austar for Au$120m.

NBN Co will use the spectrum to deliver fixed wireless services to around 5 per cent of customers out of reach of its planned fibre network, with the remainder to be served by satellite.

The company said its wireless network was now on track for full rollout by 2015.

Last month, NBN Co announced it would be proceeding with a $1.1bn project to design, build and operate a 4G fixed-wireless network, supplied by vendor Ericsson to serve those Australians who can't access other NBN high-speed broadband services. "We are pleased with the outcome of today's auction as it means we can provide high-speed wireless services to some of the most poorly served areas as a priority. We are on target to provide wireless broadband services up to five years earlier than some areas earmarked for fibre," said NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley.

However prepared NBN Co is for the LTE deployment, ACMA has yet to allay industry fears over potential interference issues between LTE handsets and regional TV broadcasting transmission.

According to broadcasting engineers, free-to-air broadcasters are becoming concerned at the risk that remote and regional viewers will suffer, particularly where multiple LTE devices are in use. An engineering spokesperson from the Australian Communications and Media Authority told The Register last month that the issue is now under investigation. ®

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