NBN Fixed Wireless Antenna (close up)

NBN expands 3.4GHz Fixed Wireless trial

15 existing towers in NSW, VIC and SA retrofitted with new radios

The company responsible for building the National Broadband Network, nbn, appears to have expanded its trial of the 3.4GHz band to deliver fixed wireless to outer metropolitan fringes.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has updated its Register of Radiocommunications Licenses.  It has replaced the Scientifically Assigned licenses, first assigned at the start 2015, with fixed site licenses on existing towers.  The towers now listed in the register include:

The current rollout, which currently relies on TD-LTE technology delivered over the 2.3 GHz band, has mainly been limited to regional areas where nbn holds the licence for the frequency.  Mobile provider Optus owns the licenses spectrum in areas closer to capital cities.

The ACMA was ordered by then-Minister for Communications, Malcolm Turnbull, to allocate the 3.4 GHz spectrum to nbn to enable the company to complete its fixed wireless rollout.  The so-called 3.4 GHz band encompasses the 3425-3492.5 MHz and 3542.5-3757 MHz spectrum allocations.

In March 2015, the nbn company had engaged NetComm Wireless to develop fixed wireless equipment for the new band.

NBN sets December launch date for up to 50/20Mbps speeds

Product construct similar to NBN’s copper network

The company responsible for building the National Broadband Network, nbn, has released an updated Wholesale Broadband Agreement (WBA) to service providers which includes the new up to 50/20 Mbps speed range.

Originally, the company had limited the speed achievable on the NBN Fixed Wireless network to be 25/5 Mbps. However, according to the Product Technical Specification document, the equipment (W-NTD) installed in homes are capable of speeds of up to 75 Mbps downstream and 20 Mbps upstream depending on the equipment version.

nbn will begin to offer the 25-50/5-20 Mbps speed tier for the commonly used Traffic Class 4 Access Virtual Circuit, starting 1st December 2015. The company will also offer a 0.3 Mbps Traffic Class 1 Access Virtual Circuit — up from 0.15 Mbps, intended for low-latency services such as VoIP lines.

However, unlike the other Fixed-line technologies such as Fibre, FTTN and HFC — the NBN Fixed Wireless network will not offer an up-to 25/10 Mbps speed tier.

The company has been trialing the product since mid-May this year.

NBN to start HFC pilot in November

Pilot program expected to run until March 2016

The company responsible for building the National Broadband Network, nbn, has released a test agreement to service providers who intend to participate in an end-user HFC pilot which is expected to begin on or around 1st November 2015.  In the document, nbn states that they will use the pilot to “test NBN Co’s delivery of a Layer 2 NEBS to End User premises through the use of HFC technology, which will assist NBN Co to develop a commercial HFC Product.”

Like the current Fibre to the Premises network, nbn will install a Network Termination Device (NTD) at the end user’s premises.  However, this device will only have a single data port for interfacing with the NBN network.  The device will also neglect the voice port (UNI-V) found in the Fibre to the Premises NTD.

The pilot will enable service providers to provide trial services only to their existing HFC, copper phone line or DSL customers within the pilot HFC footprint.

nbn intends to end the pilot by 15 March 2016.  According to the latest Integrated Product Roadmap, nbn expects their HFC product to officially launch in the second quarter of 2016. [HFC Pilot Test Description]

Inside an NBN node at Umina Beach

NBN Co to conduct 200 end-user FTTN trial

Update 5:03pm: The link to the test agreement was incorrect in the original article. The link has since been updated.

In their second FTTN trial “test agreement” released today, NBN Co reveals that they’ve begun planning for an additional 200-end users to trial and test the Fibre to the Node network. Unlike the FTTN technology pilot which began in the middle of last year at Umina Beach, this trial appears to be user-centric.

iTnews reports that this trial will take place in the Lake Macquarie region.

“iTnews understands the trial will take place in the Lake Macquarie region of NSW.”

Earlier this week at a Senate hearing, Telstra admitted that the earlier FTTN technology pilot run at Umina Beach was to test the FTTN technology and that further trials would be needed to establish the actual experience and speeds that end users can expect at a commercial launch:

“We don’t believe the trial represents real world experience, it was operating over spare copper pairs… In terms of customer experience, we would be of the view there are other trials which we believe may be occurring in the future, that we have to look at.”

Tony Warren

However, based on the test agreement released today, this additional 200 end-user trial will still rely primarily be a “Second Line Pilot” where an unused or new phone line is connected to the end-user premises for the Internet connection. The agreement states that only a “limited number of Single Line Pilot” premises will be nominated by NBN Co, to test the performance of existing phone lines:

“a limited number of Single Line Pilot Premises nominated by NBN Co and agreed to by Test Participant”

It is expected that the FTTN product will be ready for initial product release by the third quarter of this year.

Inside an NBN node at Umina Beach

NBN: Details of FTTN pilot emerge

Earlier today, NBN Co released the test agreement details for its Fibre to the Node pilot in Umina Beach, NSW and Epping, VIC. After initial delays with negotiation trial access to the copper with Telstra, NBN Co is set to commence the customer trials on or around 1st June 2014.

NBN Co will be conducting main deployment trials, one using a spare copper pair (known as the “Second Line Pilot”) as well as a selected “Single Line Pilot” which will use the existing copper phone line to the home. In a Single Line Pilot, traditional voice services will continue to be delivered from the exchange with the use of a combiner to “inject” VDSL signals into the existing line.

Unlike NBN Co’s FTTN discussion paper as reported by CommsDay, NBN Co will be responsible for a free installation process of both pilots where the new copper pair is terminated a new wall plate for “Second Line Pilot Premises”, or where a splitter is installed for the purposes of a “Single Line Pilot Premises”.

Similar to the FTTB trial, the Retail Service Provider or the end user will provide their own ADSL or NBN Co-approved VDSL modem to connect to the NBN Co FTTN Test Network. During NBN Co’s own shop-front tests in March, it was revealed that a Netcomm NF4V modem router was used.

NBN Co expects these trials to conclude 30th September 2014.