Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Australia's NBN Goes Live in Melbourne

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard MP officially switched on the National Broadband Network at a ceremony in a suburb of Melbourne, marking the third NBN site on the mainland.

The fibre network in Brunswick covers approximately 2,689 premises and the first 14 homes are now connected. The trial phase is due to run until late September, after which residents in the Brunswick fibre coverage area are expected to be able to order broadband services over the NBN from retail service providers.

NBNCo noted that work in Brunswick began in October 2010 with construction partner Telstra accessing its existing underground infrastructure in order to help minimise the impact of the rollout on the local community.

"The launch today of the NBN in Brunswick and new construction activity we've announced are the latest steps towards delivery of a crucial piece of nation-building infrastructure. The National Broadband Network has the potential to deliver genuine competition in telecommunications and benefit Australian homes, businesses, schools and hospitals for decades to come," stated NBN Co Chairman Harrison Young.

In addition, NBNCo released details on the first communities in five states and territories that will become the first in the country to receive NBN Co's high-speed fixed wireless service, which promises 4G speeds of up to 12 Mbps. The fixed wireless component of the NBN rollout is expected to be completed by 2015 and aims to pass approximately half a million homes and business, four percent of the nation's total addressable premises. The rollout will require the use of around 2300 masts, including existing ones where possible. The fixed wireless service differs from mobile wireless networks in that it is designed to serve a precisely designated number of homes and businesses, each with a wireless receiver affixed to their premise.

The first to receive NBN wireless service will be homes, businesses and institutions in the less densely populated rural and regional communities that surround Geraldton (WA), Toowoomba (Qld), Tamworth (NSW), Ballarat (Vic) and Darwin (NT).

The network is designed to deliver wholesale access speeds of up to 12Mbps*. NBN Co anticipates higher speeds becoming available as technology advances and the network is upgraded.

  • In May 2011, NBN Co awarded a 10-year contract to Ericsson to design, build and operate a 4G fixed-wireless network. The deal is valued at up to AUS $1.1 billion.