nbn™ to offer 100Mbps fixed wireless service

Rural businesses will be living the dream in 2018

NBN Co fixed wireless antenna
A soon-to-be-redundant nbn™ fixed wireless antenna, at least for those who want 100Mbps service

nbn™, the entity building and operating Australia's national broadband network (NBN), has announced it will launch a 100Mbps fixed wireless service in 2018.

Demonstrated to The Register at a trial site in Ballarat today, the service will require subscribers to update their aerial and modem.

Hitting 100Mbps for downloads, and 40Mbps for uploads, will require aggregation of a pair of LTE carriers. Hence the need for the new aerial that packs two radios into one chassis. Australian company NetComm Wireless will get the gig of building the modems, which will be stuffed with Qualcomm chipsets and tech from Ericsson.

The company expects the new service will be of most interest to businesses, as they're already the dominant users of the current 50/20 speed tier on its fixed wireless networks.

nbn™'s fixed wireless services currently use a hub and spoke configuration: the hub site gets a nice fat fibre connection and provides point-to-point microwave links to other towers. The imminent 100Mbps tier means the company will start to plan additional fibre runs to more fixed wireless towers around the network, to ensure the higher speed tier can be achieved.

Upgradability has been nbn™'s watchword of late and at the demo event the company was keen to point out that its fixed wireless service has further upside.

That's all a bit theoretical for now. Today's demo was about showing the work's been done to set things in motion for the launch of the 100/40 service. Now comes the fun of chatting to retailers about all the minutiae that need to be done before new plans can go on sale. That work will take about a year: nbn™ representatives at the demo suggested April 2018 as a likely start date. ®


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