Australia - National Broadband Network - Fixed Wireless and Satellite Networks


The National Broadband Network will connect approximately 7% of all premises in the country to wireless networks. They consist of an LTE-based component that will cover 5%, with a satellite-based network dealing with the remaining 2%. In all, just under one million premises will be affected. In December 2015 NBN (formerly NBN Co) introduced an upgrade of the infrastructure with new speeds of up to 50Mb/s download.

The uptake of these services has been significantly underestimated. In a 2014 review, the forecasted uptake of these services was increased from 230,000 to 620,000 premises. This had a significant impact on the rollout, increased its costs by $1.4 billion.

Under the previous government, NBN had purchased 2.3GHz spectrum from Austar and signed a $1 billion build-and-operate contract with Ericsson. Under that contract, Visionstream started construction in late 2011. NBN also commissioned the two ka-band satellites, costing some $2 billion. An interim satellite service has been made available.

Under the original NBN plan the fixed wireless roll out was planned to be finalised in 2016, the current plan is that this will not happen before 2020. The roll out finally started to gather pace in 2015.

The wireless roll out had bipartisan support and is therefore not affected by the ideological political discussions that are taking place in relation to the fixed network.

After the successful launch of the first NBN satellite, services started to be rolled out in mid 2016, the second satellite is set for launch in October 2016.

This report provides the background information to these network developments and follows the developments as they happen throughout the building phase.

Companies mentioned in this report:

NBN; Austar; Ericsson; Visionstream; Optus, iiNet, Internode, Rivertel, CSIRO, Space Systems/Loral, gilat Satellite Networks, Bordernet, Clear Networks, Harbour IT, SkyMesh, Active8me, Reachnet, ViaSat

Table of Contents

  • 1. Synopsis
  • 2. Introduction
  • 3. Statistical overview
    • 3.1 Roll out statistics mid 2016
    • 3.2 Statistical overview 2014-2018
  • 4. NBN Co’s Fixed Wireless Network
    • 4.1 Services based on 2.3GHz spectrum
    • 4.2 Construction plan
    • 4.3 Visionstream to construct the network
    • 4.4 Hills to do the home installations
    • 4.5 Colocation and tower sharing
    • 4.6 NBN facilitates wireless competition - Analysis
    • 4.7 Fixed wireless rollouts
      • 4.7.1 Roll out update
      • 4.7.2 Extra spectrum
      • 4.7.3 NBN Co’s 3.5GHz trial results
      • 4.7.4 NBN to launch 50Mbps wireless service
      • 4.7.5 Armidale first site that went live
      • 4.7.6 Ballarat, Darwin, Geraldton, Tamworth and Toowoomba
      • 4.7.7 NSW North Coast
      • 4.7.8 North Queensland
      • 4.7.9 South-west Queensland
      • 4.7.10 Central NSW
      • 4.7.11 Goulburn Valley and North East Victoria regions
      • 4.7.12 Northern Territory
      • 4.7.13 Hobart roll-out halfway milestone
      • 4.7.14 Regional South Australia
    • 4.8 Other developments
      • 4.8.1 Optus Rollout – 2017
      • 4.8.2 Fixed Wireless and Satellite Review
      • 4.8.3 Mobile Backhaul
      • 4.8.4 Faster wireless NBN services for businesses
      • 4.8.5 Wireless upgrades to 50Mp/s
      • 4.8.6 New broadband wireless technology
      • 4.8.7 NBN to deploy 5G
  • 5. The NBN Satellite Network
    • 5.1 Launch of the satellites
    • 5.2 The name of the service: Sky Muster
    • 5.3 Ka-band satellites
    • 5.4 Faster speeds with restrictions
    • 5.5 doubling of data allowances with 2nd satellite
    • 5.6 SkyMesh first with satellite retail pricing
    • 5.7 Education and community applications
    • 5.8 Interim satellite services (ISS)
      • 5.8.1 Introduction
      • 5.8.2 Running out of capacity
      • 5.8.3 Boost to capacity
      • 5.8.4 NBN Co Satellite Support Scheme (NSS)
      • 5.8.5 Added capacity for 9000 more satellite users
    • 5.9 Contracts
      • 5.9.1 Satellite launch contracts
      • 5.9.2 Via Sat to supply satellite ground equipment
      • 5.9.3 Ground station gateways
      • 5.9.4 10,000 VSAT terminal milestone for NBN
    • 5.10 Analysis - Satellite and wireless uptake greater than expected
  • 6. Why Wireless Broadband is no alternative to FttH - Analysis
    • 6.1 Problems in metro fringe areas
  • 7. NBN Fixed Wireless Broadband: A Global Comparison
  • 8. Related reports
  • Table 1 – FttH Wireless Rollouts FY 2014 - 2016
  • Table 2 – NBN ARPU Fixed wireless – FY 2014-2016
  • Table 3 – NBN Capital expenditure fixed wireless – FY 2013-2016
  • Table 4 – NBN Cost per premises fixed wireless – FY 2014-2016
  • Table 5 - Premises Ready for Wireless Services 2014 - 2018
  • Table 6 – Wireless Premises Activated 2014 – 2018 (cumulative (‘000)
  • Table 7 - Weighted average cost per premise
  • Table 8 – Satellite Rollouts 2014 - 2016
  • Exhibit 1 - IP Channel Bonding

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