NBN fixed wireless rollout reaches 500,000 premises

175,000 active services on fixed wireless

More than half a million households are able to order fixed wireless services on the National Broadband Network, NBN said today.

The figure means that the planned rollout of fixed wireless is more than 80 per cent complete. NBN also revealed that so far only 175,000 eligible premises currently have active services, however.

Recent data released by NBN indicated that by the end of March across the network in total 4.6 million premises were able to order a service, although less than half those households — just over 2 million — had active connections.

NBN currently offers wholesale speeds of up to 50 megabits per second over fixed wireless, with the company planning to launch 100Mbps services in 2018.

Last month the company demonstrated downstream bandwidth of 1.1 gigabits per second and 165Mbps upstream using its wireless infrastructure. However, the launch of a commercial service with those speeds is unlikely for now due to spectrum constraints.

NBN today released a report it commissioned from analyst firm Ovum that spruiks the network company’s fixed wireless offering.

“NBN’s commitment to delivering universal broadband has far exceeded other markets, many times higher than the per household investment in infrastructure and subsidies than seen in European peers like France and the UK,” the report states.

“This will benefit regional communities and contribute to the development of Australia’s digital economy and competitiveness.”

NBN’s other wireless broadband service — its Sky Muster satellite service — late last year began suffering performance problems after it hit 25,000 active users. However, the service is back on track after the implementation of 147 individual network fixes and optimisations, an NBN executive said earlier this month.

NBN copper

NBN revealed this week in an answer to a question on notice from a Senate Estimates hearing that it has purchased more than 15,000 kilometres of copper for use in its rollout of fibre to the node and fibre to the building.

The revelation drew a rebuke from Labor. “Malcolm Turnbull’s use of taxpayer funds on last century's copper is yet another indictment of his failed second-rate NBN,” a statement from shadow minister Michelle Rowland said.

The effort that will be required to remediate parts of Telstra’s copper network for use with FTTN and FTTB has previously been unclear, but NBN’s latest corporate plan, released in August 2016, states: “Field studies undertaken on more than 13,000 joints, together with early stage operations of the network, indicate the condition of the copper network to be in line with expectations. The performance of the copper network will continue to be monitored as the rollout progresses.”

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