NBN Co says that its forecasts showed that only around 5600 households and businesses would take advantage of its planned but now cancelled 100/400 megabits per second fixed wireless service.
The network wholesaler had intended to launch a 100Mbps wireless product in early 2018. In May, however, then-CEO Bill Morrow revealed that NBN Co had scrapped the idea. Morrow said that NBN Co had concluded the cost of offering the speed tier would be “outrageous”.
In a written response to questions from a parliamentary inquiry, NBN Co has indicated that by 2022 it had forecast a less than 1.4 per cent take-up rate of the 100Mbps option among fixed wireless users.
The company’s most recent public forecasts indicate it expects some 400,000 active NBN fixed wireless services by the end of FY22, up from 200,000 at the end of FY18.
(Despite plans to offer a 100Mbps service being cancelled, the fixed wireless devices rolled out households will still, in theory, support the speed.)
NBN Co has struggled to deal with the number of concurrent fixed wireless users on its network, revealing details earlier this year of its plan to upgrade a number of wireless cells.
The latest corporate plan from the company notes that it has “seen higher-than-expected concurrency of use, data consumption, and a faster take-up rate”.
“This resulted in congestion in some cells across the network, leading to slower speeds for some households during busy periods,” states the document, which was released in August. “We are reconfiguring the network and increasing capacity to help accommodate this additional demand”
NBN Co has spent around $800 million on improving the capacity of its fixed wireless service — a key factor in driving up the costs of the NBN rollout.
The company in August revealed that it was planning to charge more for fixed wireless services than the equivalent fixed line services before quickly walking back the proposal.