Up to one million premises across regional, rural and remote Australia are set to gain access to higher speeds via the fixed wireless infrastructure operated by NBN Co, while data limits are to be increased on its satellite-based offerings, as a result of new investment. In a press release regarding the matter, the country’s communications minister Paul Fletcher noted that with the total cost of NBN Co’s fixed wireless and satellite infrastructure upgrades expected to be AUD750 million (USD555 million), it will invest AUD480 million, while the remaining AUD270 million will be contributed by the operator itself.
The network upgrade will see NBN Co looking to offer new higher speed fixed wireless services with downlink rates of 100Mbps, available to all 750,000 premises its infrastructure covers, while 85% of premises covered will have access to a 250Mbps-capable option. Further, it was claimed that users will see higher actual speeds during what is referred to as the ‘network busy hour’ (typically around 8pm). With the typical average speed in the busy period currently standing at 6Mbps, it has been suggested that after the network upgrades it will increase to ‘at least’ 50Mbps.
Meanwhile, with the upgrades expected to encourage some existing satellite-based customers to move to a fixed wireless service, it has been claimed that this will in turn free up capacity on NBN Co’s satellite network. As a result, the company expects to offer ‘an almost immediate increase in average data allowances for NBN Sky Muster satellite users’. To that end, average monthly data allowances for standard Sky Muster plans will increase to 55GB in the short term, increasing to 90GB once the fixed wireless upgrade is complete in around two years’ time.