New wireless dollars a win
Farmer and regional advocacy groups say an announcement by the Federal Government and nbn to invest an additional $750 million to expand the nbn fixed wireless network is a great step forward
“(It) will see significant improvements in connectivity options, upload and download speeds, and data allowances for many regional and rural Australians, both on fixed wireless and satellite networks,” National Farmers’ Federation Telecommunications Committee chair Peter Thompson said.
According to nbn, the investment could see up 120,000 previously satellite-only premises offered access to the fixed wireless network.
"The expanded fixed wireless footprint should provide the opportunity for some customers to transfer off the satellite network,“ Mr Thompson said.
“Additionally, fixed wireless customers may see an increase to typical wholesale speeds of up to 100mbps and an increase to typical busy hour speeds of at least 50Mbps.
“The nbn estimates 85 per cent of this expanded network may see improved download speeds of up to 250 megabytes per second.
"While work remains to be done, this investment is hugely positive. The next step for the government must be to deliver on the NFF's call for a multi-billion regional connectivity commitment to resource ongoing network improvement and expansion into the future.“
Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association of Australia president and Regional, Rural and Remote Communications Coalition spokesperson Alana Moller said reliable, affordable telecommunication and data access was intrinsically linked to business, lifestyle, education and the health services of regional and remote Australians.
Importantly, she said, those who remained on Sky Muster satellite would see improvements in their connectivity, an expansion of their unmetered usage hours, including for use of VPN and streaming services, and an increase in average monthly allowances for regular Sky Muster plans.
"The RRRCC has long advocated for increased investment in enhanced voice and data connectivity for rural, regional and remote Australia, a call made even more pertinent during the last couple of years,“ Ms Moller said.
"The 2021 Regional Telecommunications Review recommended upgrades be made to the regional fixed wireless and satellite network in response to the step change in the current and ongoing demand for data.
"The RRRCC will work with nbn as these investments roll out. We also look forward to further announcements of the government's response to the 2021 Regional Telecommunications Review.“