Chief architect of nbn Australia, Tony Cross spoke at the Broadband World Forum 2015 in London to discuss the important role of wireless technology to nbn’s goal of giving all Australians access to ubiquitous broadband services.
Mr. Cross started by giving an outline of the two core principles behind nbn’s rollout. He said they go to everybody and that nobody is left behind, with 100% coverage. He said they have a minimum speed of 25Mbps download and 5Mbps upload. Looking at those two data points, some of the engineering and technical challenges the company faces already start to be seen.
According to Mr. Cross, nbn has taken a pragmatic approach in its effort to achieve its goals. Considering themselves to be “technology agnostic,” he said they will use whatever’s available to them, including numerous technologies known to them today and an entire swathe of future capabilities into the future. He said it was all about finding what helps build the network cost effectively and the fastest – all while providing a great broadband experience to customers.
As for the nbn primarily focusing on fibre, Mr. Cross said the organisation is all about affordability and speed, and they’ve found that a ubiquitous fibre network is not an appropriate match. On the fixed line aspect of the business, nbn makes use of existing copper and cable infrastructure where suitable.
Mr. Cross commented that repurposing those networks in order to achieve broadband speed and make it available to Australians faster and much cheaper is a practical move, and one which leads to utilising fixed wireless technology – something Mr. Cross boasted as being “a shining example of fabulous technology meeting a rural need and delivering a great service.”
Partnering up with Ericsson, nbn broadband service can be expected to get a boost from its current 25Mbps/5Mbps to 50Mbps/20Mbps, all while using the same infrastructure. As per Mr. Cross, the service is working really well that they can move to increase the speed.
He also said that nbn Fixed Wireless Service, featured as a global leader in Fixed Wireless Broadband: A Global Comparison, is such a fantastic service that customers are getting in line to get it. They love the way it works and the way nbn manages to activate it.
Another breakthrough in nbn’s portfolio is satellite communications in the form of its first satellite called Skymuster which was launched in October. It is currently in its final technical testing stages ahead of the planned commercial services in 2016.
Mr. Cross noted that they are getting to the last 3% of the Australian population and that there is no wireline or even a terrestrial wireless network which can be built cost effectively out to the more remote parts of the country.
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