NBN announces 100Mbps fixed-wireless product

NBN fixed-wireless users will be able to connect at speeds of 100/40Mbps next year thanks to a new product utilising carrier aggregation and a new wireless NTD developed alongside Ericsson, NetComm Wireless, and Qualcomm.

The National Broadband Network (NBN) company has launched a new fixed-wireless product enabling wholesale speeds of 100Mbps download and 40Mbps upload.

Fixed-wireless users will be able to attain higher speeds through the use of carrier aggregation, which increases bandwidth and capacity.

According to NBN, it will launch the new product around this time next year, with users who take up the product to be issued a new wireless network termination device (NTD) developed by NBN in partnership with Ericsson, Qualcomm, and NetComm Wireless.

NBN said the product demonstrates its intent to launch upgrade paths across all of its network technologies, enabling faster speeds in future.

"This is just one more example of NBN's flexibility to introduce technology advancements without slowing down the rollout," NBN CEO Bill Morrow said.

"It fits neatly into the upgrade path for fixed wireless and ensures we meet our commitment to provide a network for the future, regardless of technology."

Fixed-wireless is currently available at 482,246 premises across the country, with 168,184 premises connected.

NBN last upgraded its fixed-wireless network -- which makes use of radio signals from ground stations to transmit data to home equipment -- back in December 2015, when it doubled the speeds to 50Mbps down and 20Mbps up.

Fixed-wireless technology provides coverage for those living in rural and regional areas where it is not economical to roll out fibre connections. According to NBN's most recent corporate plan, between 0.9 million to 1.1 million, or 8 percent of the population, will be covered by satellite and fixed-wireless.

NBN expects fixed-wireless to be ready for service at 0.5 million premises by FY17 and 0.6 million by FY18, with services activated at 0.2 million premises by FY17 and 0.3 million premises by FY19.

Fixed-wireless provided AU$22 million in revenue for NBN during the first half of the 2017 financial year.

Capex for the half year for fixed-wireless cost AU$177 million after NBN's acquisition of 250 wireless sites during the period and the integration of an additional 144 base stations, with cost per premises (CPP) dropping slightly, from AU$3,559 to AU$3,551.

Of all fixed-wireless users, 79 percent chose the 25/5Mbps speed tier as of December 31; 17 percent were on 12/1Mbps; and just 4 percent were on the fastest speed tier of 50/20Mbps.