NBN Co, the company overseeing Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) project, has outlined plans to begin a nationwide pilot in which it aims to ‘significantly boost broadband speeds available to families and businesses in rural and regional Australia’. From May 2015 customers connecting via the fixed-wireless element of the NBN infrastructure will reportedly be able to experience increased wholesale downlink speeds of between 25Mbps and 50Mbps, double the current top wholesale offering, while wholesale upload speeds will rise to between 5Mbps and 20Mbps.
According to NBN Co, the pilot is currently expected to conclude 20 business days after the commercial launch of the 25-50Mbps/5-20Mbps wholesale speed tier product, which is scheduled to take place in Q4 2015. Meanwhile, by the end of the NBN rollout more than 600,000 premises are earmarked to receive fast broadband via the Long Term Evolution (LTE)-based fixed-wireless network.
Commenting on the plans, Tony Cross, NBN Co’s chief architect, said: ‘The fixed wireless network already offers people living and working in the bush access to broadband speeds that those in cities take for granted … However the 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 … It opens up the exciting prospect of even greater participation in the digital economy by families and businesses in rural and regional Australia.’