Downlink speeds available to remote and rural locations in Australia are expected to be further increased following an announcement by NBN Co, the company overseeing the construction and management of the National Broadband Network (NBN). It has been announced that broadband speeds offered over the NBN’s fixed-wireless and satellite infrastructure will be doubled, with more than half a million premises expected to be able to access speeds of up to 25Mbps; upload rates too are set to increase, rising to up to 5Mbps. With the fixed-wireless network, which utilises LTE technology, already offering downlink rates of up to 12Mbps, the higher speeds are expected to be introduced as soon as June 2013. In terms of satellite connectivity, while the Interim Satellite Service provides access at up to 6Mbps/1Mbps down/up, when the Long Term Satellite Service launches in 2015 it will boost maximum rates to 25Mbps/5Mbps.
Alongside confirming the plans to increase speeds, NBN Co has also noted that the wholesale prices for ISPs reselling NBN-based services to rural broadband users will be set at same rate as for fibre users in the country’s cities: a 25Mbps/5Mbps connection will cost AUD27 (USD26) per month, while a 12Mbps/1Mbps service will cost AUD24 per month.
The rollout of the fixed-wireless and Long Term Satellite services are expected to cover the roughly 7% of the population that will not be reached by the fibre-optic network deployment. NBN Co has said that both of these services are ‘on track to be substantially completed by the end of 2015’.