NBN Co Announces Fixed Wireless Upgrades and Changes to Sky Muster Plus Services | Liverpool City Champion
In a win for bush internet services, Sky Muster Plus users will soon have access to an additional 10 hours of unlimited off-peak data each day.
Users will be able to access off-peak unmetered data from 12:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., a significant upgrade from the current 1:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. window, starting in mid-2022.
NBN Co is also aiming to increase average monthly data allowances for regular Sky Muster users to 55 gigabytes, with a planned increase to 90 GB once fixed wireless network upgrades are complete.
Advocacy group Better Internet for Rural, Regional & Remote Australia hailed the investment as “transformative” for regional internet services.
BIRRR co-founder Kristy Sparrow said the changes were “exciting and much needed”.
Ms Sparrow said Sky Muster Plus users would be able to freely use their connections for most of the day for whatever they need to do online, for the very first time since Sky Muster launched.
The change was announced Tuesday alongside a federal government commitment of $480 million to upgrade the NBN fixed wireless network.
NBN Co committed an additional $270 million to the program designed to deliver faster wholesale speeds.
The funding will be used to enable 5G on NBN Co’s network, which consists of more than 2,200 fixed wireless infrastructure sites and more than 22,000 cells in semi-rural, regional and remote areas.
A move to 5G technology is expected to significantly extend the range, speed and capacity of the fixed wireless network and reduce latency.
The upgrade can mainly be done using NBN’s existing tower network.
This investment is expected to expand coverage of NBN’s fixed wireless footprint by up to 50% by extending the maximum range of select fixed wireless towers.
As a result, approximately 120,000 former satellite-only eligible premises will be able to access fixed wireless services.
Homes and businesses in the extended footprint will be able to access wholesale tiers with maximum potential wholesale download speeds of 100 megabytes per second.
NBN Co aims for 85% of customers in the extended footprint to be able to access potential maximum wholesale download speeds of 250 Mbps.
This would be up to three times faster than the highest wholesale speeds currently available on fixed wireless.
Typical wholesale peak speeds of at least 50 Mbps (download) are also expected following the upgrade.
Ms Sparrow said the investment is expected to greatly improve bush broadband offerings.
She said the announcements were the result of eight years of voluntary advocacy to ensure Australians in the region have access to affordable, reliable and adequate connectivity.
“The upgrades under the $750 million package will be transformative for Australians in the region, ensuring they have access to broadband options that meet their current and future needs,” said Ms Sparrow.
“Future-proofing connectivity in RRR areas by adopting and funding solutions that plan for future growth and investment in our regions will ensure that RRR regions are not disadvantaged due to their population and postcode .”
Gavin Williams, NBN’s Director of Regional and Remote Development, said 5G would be key to improving and accelerating NBN’s fixed wireless capability.
“Access to fast and reliable broadband plays a vital role in the lives of people across Australia and is essential to the country’s economy,” said Mr Williams.
“This investment will also support Australia’s regional economy with an additional regional gross domestic product of $6.1 billion in fiscal years 2022 to 2026.”
Mr Williams said the changes would make it easier for households to work remotely, access digital services, connect with loved ones and access entertainment.
“For businesses, faster speeds will improve and expand participation in the global digital economy and benefit from innovative technologies such as the Internet of Things and smart agriculture,” he said.
Detailed planning will begin soon. Once this operation is complete, NBN Co expects the deployment to take approximately two and a half years.