Alternative Australian broadband operator iiNet has claimed that it will be the first company to offer National Broadband Network (NBN) services via three access methods, those being fibre, satellite and fixed-wireless broadband. The announcement comes as the telco revealed that it expects fixed-wireless broadband services to be made available commercially from next month, having successfully completed trials of the technology in Armidale, New South Wales. The service, which utilises Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology and requires a directional external antenna installed at the premises, is designed to give a more consistent performance than standard mobile broadband. Such connectivity is squarely aimed at those living or working in those regional and remote areas where the fibre-based NBN infrastructure is not expected to pass; upon completion, due by 2015, the fixed-wireless network will cover around 4% of the population, or 500,000 premises.
iiNet has said its ‘NBN Wireless Broadband’ product will offer downlink speeds of up to 12Mbps, with uploads at up to 1Mbps, with monthly prices starting from AUD49.95 (USD52) for a connection with a 40GB monthly data cap (20GB during peak hours and 20GB off-peak). Commenting on the development, iiNet CEO Michael Malone said that the addition of a wireless broadband option reinforced its commitment to providing superfast internet to all Australians, regardless of location: ‘As a foundation partner of NBN Co, we’ve always focused on getting on with the job and making NBN services available to our new and existing customers … We pride ourselves on being first to market with new technologies. We were first with Naked DSL and IPTV and now we’re first to bring a full NBN service suite to the market.’
Meanwhile, Internode, which has been a part of the iiNet Group since the latter completed its acquisition in February 2012, has announced it will make its own NBN fixed-wireless broadband service available immediately. Prices for the service – which at launch is using the first NBN Fixed Wireless tower near Armidale, covering around 770 premises – start from AUD49.95 per month for a 12Mbps/1Mbps connection with a 30GB data cap, with free setup offered to those signing up for a 24-month contract.