NBN Co boosts capacity for NBN 50 speed tier

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NBN Co has stated it will invest in capacity upgrades to handle more users on its fixed wireless network.

NBN Co says it has seen an increase in NBN 50 subscriptions after it lowered its wholesale costs for the second-fastest NBN speed tier in late 2017.

On the retail side of things, Telstra has updated its NBN plans to feature NBN 50 as the standard speed on all plans costing $80 or more per month. Previously Telstra’s minimum speed was NBN 25 and users can now experience a ‘typical evening speed’ of about 40Mbps between 7pm and 11pm.

NBN Co’s Gavin Williams said in a blog post that the company has seen a significant spike in the amount of data being consumed in recent months.

“Due to an increase in this demand, we will further invest in an upgrade program to expand the capacity of our wireless towers,” Mr Williams said.

The fixed wireless network primarily services regional and rural areas – areas that Mr Williams said are seeing some of the greatest increase in internet demands, especially in peak times.

“This is often referred to as the ‘Netflix effect’ where many households sit down together after dinner to stream their favourite show,” Mr Williams said.

Who is going to benefit?

So who is going to get the upgrade? Previously NBN Co has stated that any towers delivering end-user peak speeds of 6Mbps or worse will be looked into first. In mid-February, NBN Co announced some of these areas would be:

  • Marian North, QLD
  • Howard Springs, Bees Creek & Humpty Doo, NT
  • Clunes North, VIC
  • Woolgoolga & Millthorpe, NSW
  • Worrolong, SA

These areas currently fall under the threshold of 6Mbps peak download speeds, and is measured by average throughput of all end users using a particular fixed wireless cell.

In the retail space, it isn’t clear whether providers will follow Telstra and lower NBN 50 costs or not. In any case, watch this space, especially if you’re a regional or rural customer using fixed wireless NBN.

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