Bega Valley roll-out of NBN fixed wireless network

PROPOSALS to roll out fixed wireless broadband through the Bega Valley will be formally lodged in coming months.

A public forum in recent weeks heard from representatives of NBNCo and its construction partners, Ericsson and Aurecon, outlining the fixed wireless system and how regional areas such as those in the Valley could benefit.

Jacqueline Crompton from Ericsson explained fixed wireless was a system able to cater for a large number of users accessing fast and reliable broadband connections, irrespective of their distance from the signal infrastructure.

“There is a lot of interest in the speed of broadband, but the key transformative issue is service reliability,” Ms Crompton said.

“A lot of people currently don’t have ADSL because their exchange’s ports are already fully subscribed.

“With mobile wireless, servicing is unknown and the number of customers in an area is uncontrolled.

“Speed and connections drop off at peak times and there is severe fluctuation in service.

“Fixed wireless is not subject to that type of network congestion,” she said.

Ms Crompton said for any given signal tower, up to 500 premises with multiple users in each home can be catered for.

NBNCo’s intention is to roll out fixed wireless to areas where a minimum of 110 premises can be covered – allowing plenty of capacity for growth.

At this stage, it is proposing 14 structures, several co-located on existing communications infrastructure, in the shire.

Ms Crompton reiterated the pledge that larger centres such as Bega, Merimbula, Eden and Tathra would eventually be included in the optic fibre network and that fixed wireless would be utilised in the surrounding areas to connect them back to the fibre “backbone” running throughout the country.

However the company representatives at the meeting admitted it is “not fully articulated by the new government how that backbone will be implemented in Bega”.

“It’s not one size fits all, we will be asking how we best service each community,” Ms Crompton added.

“[However,] we are dedicated to reaching as many people as possible.”

Once the development proposals for the Bega Valley Shire are formally lodged, NBNCo said it would be returning to continue its community engagement.

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