If you live out in the Central West of NSW, chances are you’ve got pretty shocking mobile reception on any carrier other than Telstra. Vodafone wants to change that, and it’s using the infrastructure installed by the National Broadband Network to make it happen.
The town of Molong is the first area to get Vodafone 4G in the region, with a new installation covering 155 square kilometres and 860 homes and businesses along the Mitchell Highway. The installation piggybacks on NBN fixed wireless towers and NBN fibre.
Vodafone is the first company to sign on for NBN’s Cell Site Access Service, where telcos pay a fee to install their own hardware and antennas on NBN fixed wireless towers. NBN’s installed fibre networks, too, carry that voice and mobile data back to the nearest point of interconnect — in this case, it’s in Dubbo.
Molong was listed as a mobile blackspot in the federal government’s program of the same name, so things were obviously pretty dire beforehand. NBN also makes the point that connecting Vodafone’s mobile data network to the NBN fixed wireless tower will not impact the speeds of the fixed wireless broadband being broadcast — the data travels on NBN’s transit network and isn’t subject to congestion.