An account of an NBN fixed-wireless connection–is it worth it?

Article

NBN Co – National Broadband Network – Australia | I’m connected to NBN Fixed Wireless: what it’s like

Also originally published on SRW.ID.AU

My Comments

I have become interested in the account of an NBN fixed-wireless installation in a country property south of Ballarat as an example of what has been done to bring real broadband to the bush.

Previously the owner had to put up with a poor-quality and expensive 3G broadband service as his Internet solution. But this brought the same kind of ADSL quality commonly expected in metropolitan areas to his country property.

NBN installed the service on an inclusive contract which covered 2 hours of labour and the hardware and equipment needed to receive the service. This was part of a beta-test for a new ISP service to cover this country area.

The aerial (antenna) with transceiver was mounted on his TV-aerial mast and connected to the consumer-premises equipment that was installed in the house. This box has 4 Ethernet connections for four different services with connected to the Wi-Fi router that serves his home network.

The particulars with this installation was that he could see the NBN communications tower from his house with a although 2 trees were in the way. This could reduce the signal strength to 2/3 (according to the LED signal-strength meter on the above-mentioned CPE box) for momentary periods on a wet and windy day.

As mentioned before, there was the nominal ADSL2 bandwidth but could improve on upload bandwidth. He raised this as he is a content creator, but this issue would be of concern to rural users who “Skype” a lot for example. The throughput could be improved as the fixed-wireless broadband service is improved over the coming years.

Personally, I would see the fixed-wireless deployment as being worth it for rural users because they can get the real broadband service that would suit most home applications at a price commonly associated with an ADSL or cable broadband service. On the other hand, I wouldn’t recommend this for rural areas that start to become dense like small towns. Here, this could be a chance to look towards implementing the fibre-optic setup for these areas.

Similarly, properties like caravan parks, motels, business or industrial campuses could be allowed to opt for an FTTP setup rather than fixed-wireless as a “business option” so they have stronger throughput for their needs.

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