Another Step Forward For The NBN As Fixed Wireless Switched On In SA

Almost 1000 homes and businesses in rural South Australia are able to access (relatively) high-speed Internet for the first time, after the first fixed wireless components of the NBN were recently switched on in areas south of Adelaide.

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The Coorong district, south of the South Australian capital, is the first region in Australia to be set up with fixed wireless access to the NBN. Fixed wireless is effectively 4G mobile broadband, using the same basic technology, but bandwidth is allocated and determined depending on the number of premises in any given coverage zone — so download and upload speeds are more consistent than 4G.

Fixed wireless does use cellular tech, but each home or business is set up with a high-gain antenna pointed directly at the coverage zone's transmitter — delivering the best possible transfer speeds and avoiding crosstalk with different cells. There are multiple fixed wireless transmitters in the Coorong — reportedly one each for Tailem Bend, Meningie, Naracoote North, Coonalpyn, and Tintinara.

NBNCo suggests that fixed wireless is reasonably capable of delivering broadband speeds of around 25Mbps download and 5Mbps upload, significantly faster than the maximum upstream potential of ADSL2+ but only marginally theoretically faster on downloads. Being a wireless technology, mobile broadband has a slightly higher transmission latency, so is less suited for responsive tasks like online gaming.

Residents in the region can check whether their home or business is covered by the fixed wireless rollout on NBNCo's rollout map, and subscribe to NBN plans from any one of 25 participating ISPs including Telstra, Internode and iiNet. Beyond the Coorong district, 15 more fixed wireless installations are being constructed in regional South Australia, providing access to the NBN for a further 4200 premises by the end of 2014.

Image via Shutterstock

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