CANBERRA, AAP – More than a million premises in regional and rural Australia will be able to access faster NBN speeds as part of an almost $500 million budget boost.
The federal government has set aside $480 million to help increase speeds on the NBN’s fixed wireless network, as well as introducing greater data limits as part of the Sky Muster service.
A further $270 million will be brought in by NBN Co from its own funds.
It is expected the NBN boost would expand the fixed wireless footprint by almost 50 per cent, with an extra 120,000 premises able to access fixed wireless services.
Communications Minister Paul Fletcher told ABC TV the boost would see faster speeds for those currently served by the NBN, which will be a “game changer” for people in regional areas.
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“This is about better internet for households, it comes on top of all the other changes we made to the NBN,” he said.
“When we came to government, barely 50,000 premises were able to connect to the fixed line, it’s now 8.4 million … this is now a focus on people in regional and remote Australia, faster internet for them.”
Speeds are expected to increase by up to 100Mbps for most premises on the fixed wireless network, with almost all of the 750,000 premises able to access expanded coverage.
A 250Mbps service will also be available to 85 per cent of premises.
Mr Fletcher said the NBN plan would also mean higher internet speeds during busy periods.
“This means more people can be served by NBN fixed wireless; it means higher-speed services on the NBN fixed wireless network; and it means higher amounts of data can be used by households and business customers,” he said.
“By using the latest 4G and 5G wireless technology, this upgrade will extend the coverage range from a tower, and allow higher-speed services to everyone served by the tower.”
Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said the NBN funding boost would see a major upgrade to the network.
“This is another important investment in the NBN that will deliver better and faster internet to Australian households and businesses across the fixed wireless network,” he said.
“With faster internet and more data available, these improved services will directly benefit premises already using NBN fixed wireless and satellite services.”