- NBN Co is carrying out preparations to use a test low-band fixed wireless product as an alternative voice service for regional areas.
- NBN Co is also set to use its Sky Muster satellite and fixed wireless services as part of federal government-backed trials.
- Using the low-band service, the company is initially aiming to have 26 premises connected.
NBN Co is carrying out preparations to use a test low-band fixed wireless product as an alternative voice service for regional areas currently served by copper landlines as well as ageing high capacity radio concentrator infrastructure. Alongside this, NBN Co is also set to use its Sky Muster satellite and fixed wireless services as part of federal government-backed trials.
In the first couple of months of this year, details about the Alternative Voice Services Trial program were released by the government. The $2M grant is supposed to be shared across six companies: NBN Co, leading a consortium with Australian Private Networks, Field Solutions Group, MultiWave, and Telstra, as well as Concerotel, Optus, Pivotel, Telstra, and Zetifi.
A spokesperson for NBN said that “NBN is committed to providing increased access to services throughout regional and remote Australia, helping to connect more people in Australia’s hard to reach places.”
“NBN is pleased to be participating in the Alternative Voice Services Trial and helping to improve voice solutions for customers outside the fixed-line footprint,” he added.
Over the previous week, NBN released a test agreement for the AVST trial. This test agreement detailed the three products that are set to be implemented, including the low-band wireless service that will employ spectrum in the 850MHz band. Last December, the Australian Communications and Media Authority issued NBN with four scientific licenses. With this, NBN will be able to use the 850MHz band in addition to its 3.5GHz fixed wireless service spectrum. However, the licenses for areas in Victoria, Queensland, and South Australia will expire in October this year. ACMA expects to auction off850MHz/900MHz spectrum in November.
The company’s spokesperson further added: “Fixed wireless and satellite technology already provide voice solutions for customers, with this program exploring expansion of the reach of fixed wireless and enhancements to the reliability of both fixed-wireless and satellite.”
He also said that “Real-time feedback from customers will ensure we are able to deliver a solution that will meet the needs of regional and remote Australians. We will be working closely with select service providers on these trials to ensure the solution will work from a wholesale and retail perspective.”
Using the low-band service, the company is initially aiming to have 26 premises connected. They are set to have a maximum of 80 out of the maximum 260 premises for NBN Co’s AVST tests. This is one of the viable solutions to “provide a wholesale bundled voice and broadband solution in remote, rural and regional areas”.