NBN Co prepares for 50Mbps wireless pilot

NBN Co announced earlier this year it would launch a 50Mbps offering for its fixed wireless service

NBN Co is preparing to begin a pilot of 50 megabits per second download speeds on its fixed wireless service, the company announced this morning.

A 50/20Mbps fixed wireless product was included on the company's January product roadmap.

NBN Co CEO Bill Morrow spoke in February about NBN Co's plan for the speed boost.

Previously NBN Co has capped fixed wireless download speeds at 25Mbps, "but because this is performing so well we can raise the service offering up to 50 megabits per second without a degradation to any users, to any services, without capital investment," the CEO said.

As of the end of December there were 27,292 premises with National Broadband Network fixed wireless services, compared to 6512 premises at the end of 2013.

From next month, fixed wireless customers on the highest speed tier will be able to get wholesale download speeds of 25-50Mbps if they join the pilot, NBN Co said today. Being part of the pilot is at the discretion of retail service providers.

The commercial launch of the 50Mbps speed tier is scheduled for Q4 2015; the pilot will conclude 20 days after the launch.

“[T]he speed pilot is designed to allow rural and regional families and businesses to access speeds up to twice as fast as ADSL2+ users can experience in capital cities," NBN Co chief architect Tony Cross said in a statement.

"It opens up the exciting prospect of even greater participation in the digital economy by families and businesses in rural and regional Australia."

NBN Co last year revealed it would ramp up its fixed wireless rollout after a review found that the original NBN plan underestimated demand in the 7-8 per cent of population outside the original NBN fixed line footprint.

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